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Poems
A Time Before
AS (16th March 1943 / Portland, Dorset England)

A Time Before

The Island appeared from the parting mist
The cliffs rise from rocky broken bones
Surging tides of Eocene, laid waste
And cleansed this marbled artery of stone
On the cliff above, a gallery of cradled nests of lamps
White light for the wreckers moth,
Beneath the baleful eye
Rests the fishermen's windswept homes
Windows glow with warmth
Black ranges chuckle glowing red
Driftwood, kindling piled against the shed
Gallows, timbers thick as stilted trees
Hunch over clinckered stalwart fishing boats
Waiting to be lowered by block and tackle
Into the Islands gale flung seas
With the wind comes the cracked buoys bell
Warning of four racing tides
The full flood sweeps in across the rocks
Dark seaweed with that salty ozone smell
Dragged from below the sweating cliffs
Spume filled waves leave foam
As thick as snow upon the windswept roofs
Flotsam, limbs of broken trees
Washed up and flung across a shingled beach
Lay as broken skeletons, kindling
For the men who dare to fish these seas
As the wind abates, seas ebbing
Leaving mountain bones of broken stones
Shingle stretching towards the land
An isthmus created by the storms applause
Stretching out towards the distant shores.

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