Common Seals at Wallasea by Philip Quinlan

Common Seals at Wallasea

. . . . . . . .an atmospheric perspective

Observe the word of birds:
this is not land which we acquire;
nor sky, but firmament;
not sea, but embouchure.

Absence of parallels,
the river curvilinear;
the weight of evidence
in air. It has enough to bear.

In our geodesy,
no line is straight and true.

Wake-make a herringbone;
backtrack, for there is no elsewhere.
Flood, be our penitence.
Breach, be beyond repair.

Let ebbing take it back;
the wind is sibilant and fair.
A better testament:
the air, and nothing but the air

in which all distances
are relative to blue.

(Dedicated to the RSPB Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project)

by Philip Quinlan

Editor’s Note: The rhymes embody this imagistic poem with a sense of curved meaning—if you look at the imagery as if you were flying, the stuff on the ground twists and turns and gives you a broader perspective of what the world looks like.


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