Poetry inspired by Marabu and Kestrel
Night at Sea
Only the stars above to pierce the dark
Scattered like crystals in a velvet dome;
Only the gossiping burble of the waves,
The sighing sails that urge me far from home.
The tiller creaks; the crew snore soft below;
A distant buoy sounds forth its mournful toll:
Sounds to attend my solitary watch
And swell the harmony in my soul.
Along the hull the phosphorescence streams
Like fishes' rippling scales or mermaid's hair;
A lustre, like the stars to emphasise
The endless stretching darkness everywhere.
And then the faintest glow of yellow light –
Not constant, but an intermittent loom.
Land must be near. And soon the brightness grows
Till bands of light sweep skywards through the gloom.
For hours, it seems, I watch the light ahead
Heeding the message that its flashes send,
Till further pricks of light reveal the shore.
My first night Channel crossing nears its end.
Sally Heddle, 1996
Hair thin crescent in the sky
Pale thread, a silver skein of light.
Spindrift curling green and red
Arcs past tossing, dipping bow
Falls on phosphorescent sea
Grey foam streaks the blackest depths.
Silhouettes of sailors, spars and sheets
Curves of leech and gunwales, jib as well
Roller coaster through the troughs
Sense of silent power and speed
World made up of glorious curves –
Secret place where few have found.
Geometry of nature in the sky
Pointers and the Pole Star mark our way
Cygnus triangles shine in space
Swan glides ghostly on the cushion
Jewel encrusted dark, dark blue
Ceiling of our world.
Nowhere in that world more beautiful
Nowhere in that world I’d rather be
And miss the wonder of this curving, coloured time.
The only lines are straining shrouds
A boom and one charted pencil course
Fecamp to Brighton in the night.
Gordon Tuffnell, 1990