They took our birlinn, stem and stern-postsHigh as a Venetian gondola’s, and up-turned it.Every tide in the bladder-wracked sea-tongue its keel Bridged, swam the eel-currentRaces that tracked South and NorthInto and out of the Atlantic. And theyDocked our tongues, every man’s that daredGive out a taste of his father’s banter,Effortless sound-shapes an islander’s born to. […]
August 1934 There’s a thin rain of music comes across the poppied corn, Across the poppied corn and the sun-splashed sea,Crying, ‘Who’s a-going venturing, a-venturing, a-venturing, Who’s a-going venturing with all a man can be?’O, listen, listen, listen, for it’s far, far away, The dim remembered country where the ghostly pipers blow,Across […]
Shame in our hulls
/ why else would we drink to incoherence
/ jump on the heads of passing men
/ punch our women
/ tell our children…
Allah Dad and Hira Singh,
/ You and I fought for the King!
/ Hajal Moka, Suba Khan,
/ You stood with us, man to man…
Home Thoughts from the Jungle, 1917
/ April in the Jungle: hot weather comes…
Cavernous – and empty now – / no shouts of dockers, / no barefoot women shovelling / molasses – it…
Such words can sound like flagged-up slogans, true. / What we merely say says nothing — / All that matters…
/ (for Mateo)
/ I remember your Moses basket before you were born.
/ I’d stare at the fleecy white sheet for days, weeks,
Exile I am, for to the last, I carry in my
/ heart the oak groves of Derry with their
/ white angels…
Where sea and land meet, begin there.
/ The ampersand, the join, is a fault
/ which caused jagged peaks to rise –
When the explorer landed on the first island
/ no innocent, fearful or naked
/ men and women
/ peered from behind the vegetation
/ neither poisoned arrows…
Gutting yellow perch at the sink,
/ her smile came from another age.
/ She had enough soul
/ for me, for fish, for a lineage