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Island poems: Motherland


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The pot half-full of cold tea in the morning:

I knew you'd gone.

Softer silences

and piles of washing-up

filled your space.

What kind of place is this without you?

Where the yolk sun is a constant,

Sea-foam and silver-fish foreign to me

as bright stars in your city sky.

Marooned - beached, where the hummingbirds gather

and hover, the grass is scorched and straw-like

Not greener on this side

Four thousand miles wide of home.

Why didn't you come to see us?

Spread like sheets to the wind -

Faces half-drenched in sunlight,

Waiting for you. The small girl. The boy. The rangy one.

I clawed myself away on that grey-drizzle day:

A clinging hand, each nail prized off

until free-fall... into what? Paradise?

No. A different kind of life.

A slow start. All hoops and steps -

no safety nets. So I didn't say on the phone.

My voice a sad old tune

Listless and longing for a shoulder of love

But you were a broken bell

And I, in a summer that never ends

Where holidays come and go

Where holidays come and go.