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Capricorn
(1956 - / United Kingdom)

Capricorn

Through the end of an old Coke bottle he tracks
the flight of a petrel, until it is tattered by
sea-wind and another blurred mintage of the sun.
Along the pier, he hears the men with their
reels, with their currency of damp sand. His rod
quivers – weighted not with fish, but with

the names of storms: Harmattan, Vendavales –
turbid winds running the vanguard of
dangerous straits. He kicks at a pile of fishscales:
galleon ballast, a hoard of ducats spilled
from an old Dutch dogger. The men will soon
chase him off, this raucous hero plundering

brigs. But now the bottle is a horn into which
he pours so much breath, and the air has
a tone borrowed from a blowhole, from wind
singing through a bridge's rusting struts.
A crab sifts sandgrains for its hole; its claw,
an old sea-brigand's hook, is paying out

doubloons and threats. Ah, but you know – if
you were to take this child's hand, if you
were to keep his gaze in yours and wait for
each circulation of his breath; if you were
to watch the pirated scenes of daydreams
play out through a windfall of glass – then

you'd see the copper-coloured sun. You'd walk
this beach a long time with your thoughts
trading in weather and wind, the petrels keeping
pace with the rackish lines of dreams
sailing in with the clinker-built storms. The past
and the present would not be depressions

facing each other, nor would there be grains
of sand abrading your fate... On the shore,
a gull, dead from the night's storm. With his rod,
the boy flings it up, the glove of a dueller
he's just Zorroed with his sword... No, the world
would not be a wave repeating its collapse,
but whatever mintage of story a boy can find
among fishscales, sand, and the common
issuance of wind; a boy who knows nothing
of the linkages between storms; nor of
the men, yet, who log weather's quick decay
onto gauges of abuse; who knows nothing
about paying for that old voyage toward death.

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Comments (1)

good one...highly philosophical poem.