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Old Father Sea


Water dealt him timeless
Missives in the hiss creep
And leapt upon the tired crag
Framing hard the sea bleach
Blue under the cool saline
Shave scars that were inscribed
Like epitaphs upon his brow

Yarns weft around the oilskin
Souwester cape and walrus tusk
Amulet, flesh-locked the iris life
In a rugged parenthesis of words
Where shoals of storms swam
Writhing like the throes of netted silver

A trace of tobacco-scent thieved
Numerous spat-out sea-sprites
Every skin-pickling mist wash
And line on his high forehead
Opened a chapter. The open belly
Of the Pacific knelt on his heart
With sands as sharp as knives

Cosseted in the sea-sweat summer
The pelt of his proofs and currents
Beat fresh as arctic salt-blasts
And a thousand livid coral hooves
Curing hastily into dry tentacles
Where bleached ribbons of hair
Roosted on his haywire skin

© David Incoll 2001


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Copyright by David Incoll 2001