The strumpshaw grass


This is the tidal water, this salt marsh.
How the sun’s poultice draws on my hemp-line.

Sands listless color, an erodible body in a shallow sea;
Pale currents pushed by the wind with a scorched mouth.

Why is it so quiet, where are the fishers?
I have a purpose, and I move swiftly.


Calm waters kill the vibrations,
Stretching for miles like sunken wrecks.

My oars stroking, I am at my best.
The lines are cast, scalded by the bald surface,

They jerk- elastics in a depth, hurting the calm.
Here come the kettles of mackerel

Who travel up the sea wall with their green backs,
The perts of their body are neat and jaunty.

The black hooks have no mercy for them.
Why should they, they are a hearse for a dead fish.

And the onlooker- O white sea, with cupped sighs,
Trembling at a loss; a virulence drawn out like a Maginot line.


On the dune balconies, a storm with a terrible thought;
The breakwater, whitecapped and defiant.

I am not a smile.
These fishers with their hooks and cries

Strip the waves in a fast row;
The old sea is vanishing, the brine is whitewashed from the wall.

Clouds prop their jaws for a downpour;
Fold upon fold dumping into the hollows.

I am a blunt, practical boat,
Full of aging wood, drowning in the parlor of a stone sea.

The pallors of hands gather-
Old blood like blind widows in a still place.

Passes cloud after cloud, sorry and dull.
My eyes are opening on a wonderful thing-

The strumpshaw grass, the marsh air,
The sun pouring into the tidal water, wordless and slow.

Copyright © 03/19/2019 lance sheridan®

The strumpshaw grass