Saturday, 27 July 2013


I was thinking about a poem I had written that mentioned Magnolia, a dog named after JJ Cale's song. I couldn't find it in my files, but I came across this one, intended for a collection called Signal Rock, loosely about my beaches, but which has yet to be collected.

I wrote this in Oslo, in June of 1982. I was there to cover the Bislett Games and the Dream Mile; that may be the trip I met Jan Garbarek and Eberhard Weber. The poem was published by Rialto, in Norwich, in 1985, and the following year in the US, in Gil Ott's lovely magazine Paper Air, from Philadelphia. The photo comes from the website Ossipee Lake Webcam, which stuns me time and again with photos taken from the same location...


Coming out of the water when the moon has gone
behind the clouds, the phosphorescence in
the ocean disappears. Shale splinters
& cuts my fingers as they grab a hold;
water runs off me like a peeling skin.
I dry myself in the sand, but it sticks
to my hands. The moon returns. I pull
the remains of a sweater over my head.
The wool is moist; the weather's changed,
the water is starting to move.
When my breath comes back I begin
To rearrange the sand, as if I had never
been there. Behind the rocks it stretches
for miles, in every direction but one.
A long way to go before I've got it right.
The tide, moving out, covers nothing up.

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