Tag Archives: Poems

Valentide

Valentide. Part I.

There is a distance. A gulf. Water, water, everywhere…

Uncharted seas treacherous as tyrants clinging to power,

Or familiar shipping lanes, precious days, favourable winds.

We navigate small islands, atolls, pause to watch ancient, mystical whales.

We dive and weave with playful dolphins, float on our backs and listen

To tales of mer-people and sea-monsters and pirate-fleets

As told to us by wise old turtles.

Once we saw a ghost ship – its crew a band of bleached-boned skeletons,

They blasted us with spectral cannonballs

Launched from the rotting boards of their phantom galleon.

We fled those shrieking ghosts and sailed on by,

Sometimes calling on deserted islands of pure and absolute paradise.

It is here, once, I saw your soul. Did you see mine?

Then one night a storm, unbelting itself and lashing us with its wet black leather.

Plunging us below then tossing us in the air – three, four, maybe five times…

Until we sank,

Became separated.

Our lifeboats were poor yet somehow sustained us. And what happened to our crew?

Some deserted us and jumped overboard. Some died. Some remained faithful.

Ultimately it was just you and me. Alone. Alone we drifted. On two different boats no bigger

Than matchsticks in the grand sea of things. Did you think of me as I thought of you?

Parched, sun burnt, salt in our hair and eyes like apocalyptic dust. We survived.

God. How on earth (or rather, on water) when I am such a poor sailor, and your captaincy

Is sometimes questionable?

But survive we did.

And though there was, sometimes still is, and maybe will be for much a long time

An ocean of distance to separate us,

Tides will always bring us together again.





Valentide. Part II.

On a bench somewhere, sometime, not long ago, someone wrote ‘I love you’. It wasn’t me, and it wasn’t you, but we borrowed those words and made them our own for just a moment. On dry land we shake off water and tuck in our fins. Retract our tails. Fold up our sails. Moored. Docked. We traipse the city and village and town, lost among others, surrounded by concrete and stone and things made of metal. They say we look small here. Maybe we do. But to me you will always be a giant. Je t’aime. Words borrowed from a wooden bench that looks out to the sea and back again.



Words and photos by the editor.

Adverts scanned by TVTA and Jaltesorensen.

Boatniks. 1970. Denmark; Moby Dick. Pif Gadget. 1982. France; Playmobil. 1979. Denmark; La Mauny. Geo. 1992. France; Sea-Monkeys. Fix Und Foxi. 1984. Germany; Canon Noir. Pif Gadget. 1979. France; Weird War Tales. 1975. US; Lego. 1989. Denmark.


 

Two poems

1.

Among Us

You told us once about reptiles and amphibians

The symbolism, intent, double-meanings

Their hunger

A prince’s pursed lips, a fairytale wish

You said stay away from forests, castles and New York sewers

Warned us of bacterial bites from Komodo Dragons

To not keep snakes or entertain Bearded Dragons

Are you a witch? We asked

No, you said, but was once poisoned by hand cream and oranges

Contaminated beans on toast and energy drinks

Offered by men and women in alligator skins

Who had power to turn poetry into horror in a single day

You said it made you puke when you read in the news

Of that three-headed, six-legged frog found in a school swimming pool

Would make a great pet, someone said

No, said you, it is us who will make great pets for them

See, how they will try to improve us

Stare into our dark places where we hide our shame and guilty secrets

How they devour our sad stories, our dark fairytales

How they leech on our desires

Don’t. Ever. Trust. Them. Is what you say

Beware of them hiding under stones and rocks

Lurking in the grass or under damp logs

Camouflaged in trees or submerged in bogs

And as for the forests and castles and the New York sewers…

Some fairytales are best put to bed

You told us you used to think exploding frogs

Blown-up by straws was extremely cruel

Now you tell us it’s extremely cool.


2.

A Deadly Stream

Three days and nights of relentless rain

That came in sheets as hard as nails from four directions and a granite sky

Accompanied by that lunatic Mistral which owned the streets and ripped off tiles

Toppled fences and sent wheelie bins spinning like defective Daleks

Wisely, most trees bent the knee to the staggering onslaught

Those more republican were swiftly uprooted

Came crashing down like dissident ogres and defeated giants

Coudon offered up its slopes to the charging water

That rushed from the mountain in anticipation of the sea

A delegation bearing gifts of fag ends, soft drink cans

McDonald’s packaging, palm leaves and plastic bags

An armada of debris and detritus offered to the Med.

 

It was on the news

The campus resembled a lagoon

The stream that parted it no longer visible

She went under at around four O’clock, and he jumped in to save her

Witnesses said both were gone in seconds

Forced through a culvert no bigger than the door of an industrial washing machine

Propelled through the concrete tube built beneath the main road

By town planners who believed that this was the best way to control water

When you wanted cars to travel across it

 

A year passes

Remembrances for the two dead students

The mayor erects fences along both sides of the stream that cuts through the Uni

Commissions signs written in French and English that warn:

DANGER. FLOODPLAIN. RISQUE DE NOYADE

Town planners nod sagely in warm offices

Once again believing they have the measure of water.


Words and photos by the editor