‘We either touch or do not touch’
across the tides that circulate
from Cornish sound to silver north;
in nets of colour, past the Firth,
we find our misplaced eyes too late
in deeper-than-deep blues you catch.
A spar, a prow, a rock, the sun:
they are not fixed but follow courses
framing patterns known to brush
and nib alone, now smooth, now harsh;
take our tributes with our curses
who helpless face the storm-waves down.
A man is gathering limpets from
the shore past which the trawlers scud
like fairground nags that rise and fall,
gauzed in the haar through which I feel
our ruin drawn tight like a coat
with not one light to see us home.
Sydney Graham reach me a hand.
I read behind the forms a tale
that falls away and leaves the forms,
the floods of light that burst their frames
and bursting launch the canvas sail
I still believe can find your strand.
About this poem
This poem was written as part of ‘The Blue Crevasse’ project, which marks the centenary of W.S. Graham in 2018. The image of a blue crevasse famously appears in W.S. Graham’s poem ‘Malcolm Mooney’s Land’, and the author’s estate welcomed the idea of creating a similar metaphorical space where admirers of the poet might, in a sense, be lowered for a month’s solitary ‘residency’.