Friday, February 20, 2009
A Short Season of Other Poets: Ben Wilkinson
Out from the quay, and the trawler heading away
to foreign waters
wobbles as if an apple bobbing in the kitchen basin
of All Hallows’ Eve.
Its dragnet of dregs, settling on the sea’s black-misted
of low-lying cod, haddock, the monstrous sub of the
deep Atlantic salmon,
almost looks to be catching the water’s beady-eyed
as if to expel its forty-one million square miles
of swallowing depression.
Returning, with so much fresh fish for tomorrow’s
and the bulk of boat slow-shifts from foot to foot,
tethered down to its cobblestone jetty.
And yet, through some fathomless way of sunless
ferment, next day
sees the sea ten strong or more, as if the trawler had
its many tons, shook its shivering skin above,
the freezing depths
rippling beneath. The way the ocean filters up
its once salt-ridden waters
to the streams and brooks inland, or how the Egyptian
cobra shed its skin,
intact, carefully rubbing its head, leaving behind a perfect
replica of itself.
From the sparks (tall-lighthouse, 2008)
First published in Poetry Review 97:1, Spring 2007
Ben Wilkinson was born in Stafford and lives and works in Sheffield. As well as poetry, he writes reviews and criticism which have appeared in publications including Poetry Review, Stand and the TLS. His pamphlet of poems, the sparks, was published last year by tall-lighthouse as part of their talent-spotting Pilot series. He blogs at Deconstructive Wasteland.