The Grace Darling League
must be one of those 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.
In your Museum,
the Flotsam & Jetsam
drifts on a becalmed Bamburgh day.
A sharp sunlight cuts through the church window:
‘Out of the Deep have I called unto Thee’;
‘Charity, Faith & Hope’.
These tangled words that make up our lives,
the tattered wrecks, flaked skins.
I stare in awe at a piece of the Oar you used,
constructing a jigsaw of your life:
here is a scrap of your dress,
a throb of your ‘English Heart’;
here, locked up, a lock of your hair,
a handbag containing your thoughts;
and ‘There’s The Girl That I Love Dearly’,
a storm in a teacup,
a National Heroine of Japan
who coughed herself to death
like a seagull choking in oil,
like the bloodshot wreck of a dying Empire:
save our souls:
Save Our Souls.
(as published in 'Grace Darling: Victorian Herione' by Hugh Cunningham, Continuum, 2007)
Posted by keith armstrong at 3:56 pm
STORM IN LEEUWARDEN
Never so swept with wind,
never so wet.
Our bones rattling in its carriages,
the train, blown across the fields,
tears into the heart of Leeuwarden,
a town freezing
with Frisian breath.
I came to sing
but my song was soaked
by the sobbing sky.
The whole country opened up
and drenched us
in a bitter history.
I had left my umbrella at home
to protect my friends
from the patter of Councillors.
Now I needed to shelter in a woman’s warmth,
read her my poems,
to make all her limbs
melt round me,
kiss me hard
in downtown Leeuwarden;
in all its wetness,
throw me roughly
to the wild land.
Posted by keith armstrong at 1:46 pm