Golden girl on a sunset beach With a dog and a horse, Golden boy spears a silver shark Under the sea;
Is such a dream forever in reach Or forever false? We stumble, emotional, through the warm dark Back to the sea.
I wrote this in my 20s when I was saying goodbye to the Bahamas – my father had died, my mother had sold the house and moved back to Europe. For the next few decades I lived in Denmark, Canada, the US… but eventually came back to the sea.
The poem was originally published in Candelabrum. I always had difficulty with that seventh line. Originally it had “emotionally”, and I sort of justified it with the line itself being a stumble… but it’s a bad line, too many syllables, too many consonants. Sometimes when I submit a poem to a magazine, the editor points out a flaw, and more rarely, offers a useful alternative. Poems can always be tinkered with.
Full midnight moon on fields that yield but snows, Air apple-clean, crisp, sweet In lungs and nose, The only sound your feet Past silent woods – Inhaling moods and modes Of midnight roads.
In twenty minutes, you hear only this: A dog bark twice. An owl hoot once. A horse snort by a fence. Some heavy breath behind a hedge: a cow. A mile away a car’s lights show, then go. You walk unknown, alone, towards some place With light and life, perhaps a warm cafe To make a break in travelling towards day.
This quiet little winter poem (sorry about the timing, Australia…) was first published in The Orchards Poetry Journal. The editors tend toward the bucolic and the formal… but they make exceptions, thank goodness, because this piece is not quite formal. It may be in iambics, but without a pattern to the line length or to what rhyme there is.
But it’s true to the winter outdoor experience–and pleasant enough, so long as you have good boots and adequate clothes!