Fog

Just when you think you are
Near that very end,
But you are not,
Like becoming aware that this
Interminable book is
Published in many volumes,
Cursing its unknowable author
For your youth and your loss,
Or a film the university tutor
Required you to study lovelessly,
Even though he himself yawned
Through his own seminar;
Teeth like a caught makerel’s,
Dark and doomed and sharp;
Only to discover there would be
A trilogy of liquifying dross.
He vaped, and looked you up.

Or conversely,
When you think you have
More steps to take,
Feet forward,
One at a time,
Wherewithal,
Seeing with each imprint,
Tentative rubber tread,
Success is the end,
Yet only to fall;

So this, then, is my life,
Like being on a pier and
Trying to make sense
In a dense unending fog.

West Island

A misty creek,
Derelict fishing fleets,
Salt marshes.
A quay where
Lifeboatmen
Would take their leave
To make a widow
From a wife
And orphans
From children.

Main town
Slips by,
Little more than
A row of tightly
Huddled cottages
Asleep beneath a
Precipice, one street
Along the front,
A couple of boarded-up
Empty pubs, I could not

Tell too well as
Through the low-hanging
Clouds gripping
Like lobsters’ mouths
The shells of our minds
There are no lights
Discernible, no life.
We sail on, for some
Parts of these islands
Are only reachable

By waterways
And rising currents.
There is no ferry
These days from
Mainland ports;
Abandoned, an
Airstrip resigned
To weeds, brambles,
An empty map.
There are no trees here,

Nothing higher than
Shoulders of shrubs.
Routinely, unforgivingly
That renowned mist
Which tourists
Fought to see
Now blinds islanders,
Abducts their tastebuds
And tactful languages.
Waves make funnelled

Wrong-way passages,
A distant alarm
Sounds in reverse,
We observed the
Crewless lifeboat return,
Hauled by our yearning
Thoughts up ramps, into
Its empty station.
There is nothing left
But waiting.