Sport 22: Autumn 1999
it can travel in waves
depending on the circumstances.
When I first noticed it, it was travelling in waves
and I could just see its sail pop hopefully up
on the horizon now and then
as it was keeling, or gibing,
or doing whatever brave ocean craft do
when the water is a little lumpy.
I admired its buoyancy, its neat fittings,
the way everything a person could need
was stowed in its purpose-built compartments.
I liked the way it was rigged, and aligned
with particular stars and magnetisms.
Now I'm in amongst it, I find it is travelling in lines,
the underground veins of a railway, hidden,
signposted, never drawn to scale on maps.
It is moving all sorts of things about,
taking good folk to their work, taking them out
and home to their rumpled bedrooms.
I admire its secret progress, how it can speed
or lull you on its beating window,
how it spills you out up silver
stairs and it's unexpected sun, or night lights
shining, seeming so bright, so very surprising.
I live viewing the viewers not the view.
Other house-faces take the sea slap
I insinuate in private dunes.
And though he does not live
in that particular grinning street
of lights, that one or the next
I picture him, in the down halo
of a lightbulb, reading
back and forth on the horizon.
He acquires a nautical standing
his house a prow, his spying-glass eye,
aspects of him tellingly wooden.
Lulled by the roll of buses,
the expansive roars of whisper jets,
the one-by-one lights flicked off to bed
I am a refugee of logic
on that subject, insisting on
unlikely land with every step.