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  • Filíocht Nua:New Poetry
  • Eleanor Hooker


Back then, I used words as coded transcripts of my days:private riddles, silence bound in bantam boxes, sounds paged in poems.And now my words are weighed by water, a discourse on the seas—phrasedlines at the bitter end of cables to the quays, quotes verbatim et literatim.A numbered few sealed in suits and yellow boots crew lifeboatsto the scene, to snare that rabid creature fear, cast it down, well awareit’ll snare them too given half a chance. I’ve been told hope floats,and now I’m certain dread does too, holding fast to fear.But it’s people that concern us, and when we leave them safely on the shorewe must return a transcript of their story, engage the sea’s fickle natureto describe it and disarm it, persuade others of the folly at its core,then not in ways preachers use, but as illustrator, as teacher.Yet, some scenes are seen for which we have no words, dislimnor unknown, silence bound in bantam boxes, sounds paged in poems. [End Page 44]


A rare day and the lake is a tug of blueand the haul of water is a tow of sky,and I stop in my quiet placeto skip stones, mindful of change.She doesn’t pass by, she stops to saythey’re having a bash to whicheveryone we know is going and,well, as it’s were up to her …

I retreat to my quiet place,mindful of change, aware thatthe multiple bounce of stones isdependent on the angle theyare thrown, and the objectis to skip as many timesas possible, before sinking. [End Page 45]


    Ghost me. Fossil me.    Resurrect me near dawn.        traci brimhall

On my father’s sideI am part fish.When I am dead,return me to water.

That part of mewhich is raven, onmy mother’s side,will submit.

Do not waste time.Do not bury me,or feed me to maggots.Return me to water,

I’ve shown you where.The flow is steadyat this Point.Do not reduce me to ash.

Petrify me.Bed me in the fresh lakewhose virtue isto harden heart to stone.

The sedimentwill own me, preserve mefrom foragers,minerals will fill me,

form stone-crystalcasts of every sealed cell,death-bound inside me.Return me to water

and no church please,this is my wish.From my father’s sideI am part fish. [End Page 46]


Full of the sea.At spring tideand gibbous moonit splashes the rockyoutcrops of his skull,spills out of cavesonto his face.That is the seawashing his face.

That sound,like fingertips tappingthe skin of a drum,is from him,his pan-systolic murmur.He is not broken,though the celloin his lungs wouldplay in minor key.

And why he treads waterhere, is to know the tumbleof the breaking waves,the better to swimfor shore with the following sea. [End Page 47]


I saw it drown.It dropped through the dark, stoppedwhere no shadows form, opened its eyesand looked at me, even tried to speak.

No one believes, yet we’re afraidto surface. We’re becoming sightless monstersdown here in the sea’s disconsolate caves.

Our ancestors understood. They chartedthe limits of light, left remnantsin the seadevil’s esca, proof of enlightenmentshould it ever again fail to fall to these depths. [End Page 48]


Let us imagine sleep suddenly like a child’s shadow leaping round the corner.

(a tweet from george szirtes, march 21, 2014)

They are shownback-lit negatives.Trembling therea caged pump,fugitive and rare. They’re toldto hope for winter.

Latin name,chordae tendineae.Heart strings tornfrom their winch,fastened to a fleet, dropped fall,that cannot winter.

No keepsakes.None. They’re wrought by thenegativesbut must cope—he carves Yew, while she unlearnstheir child’s winter cry. [End...


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