Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2011


by James Fennell

Where the pregnant ocean rose, bellied
Skin of the elephant seal splitting timbers
Against the cliff of our arrangements.
You gone into the Karoo,
To lift your father’s sail from the outspan,
Ossified rollers pressed to your tongue.
On the way down clouds fell with us
Tendrils wrapped and choked you where I
Hove-to under canvas storm jib.
At the shoreline, the southern swell cut into
Dissolute sediment and tossed brittle
Sands to the undertow.
Your lighthouse scoured my horizon,
Pilot to jutting headlands
I feared those rocks,
Battened-down, one hand on the tiller
Swallowing spume in the lee of a rogue wave
I rode that Dutchman down the fairway,
One quick and one slow flash.
Granite ahead, beat to windward,
Heavy weather twisting my salt-slicked mast in
That harpy skirl far from landfall,
The limits of my navigation
As the beam from your iron cage caught me dead
In the water.
I sought safe haven, downwind, Jury-rigged.
A bait-box of fish guts lashed to the foredeck.

Added: 22.02.2011

Judges' comments on this poem


very discriptive, good ending. a well written poem