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Bonzer Words!: Seafaring

Ann Danskin goes over the sea to Skye.

Ann writes for Bonzer! magazine. For further delight do please visit www.bonzer.org.au

Yesterday, on the Hebridean,
I recrossed the Minch, in awakened memory.

The Atlantic was ruffled, moodily backing.
Ragged clouds moved, unresting.

On deck I eyed the wasteland to starboard,
the gulls wheel on the salty air
as they skimmed mini-rainbows
new-forming continually
from thrown spray and sunlight.

A passing marine stopped to tell how he’d once
with his mates, lightless, high as kites,
steered, in cormorant weather,
(miraculous!) home to harbour.

He remembered, as I did a fishing-boat flitting
half a century back, from rocky Harris -
our youngest still in her mother’s arms, and I seven –
to Skye, in a fresh Easter wind.

A feckless brown hen broke, squawked
to an uneasy edge – of the wardrobe, perhaps,
flapped, and took off. Was lapped forward and back.
Went down, down, down to the dark.

A whale crossed our path. We watched him return,
surface and skirt us. Hump-backed, enormous.
In terror awaited
the swamping, the bloody dismemberment.

But most I remember the metamorphosis.
How it dawned that this
was our kin, and we moved
in his kinrik. Like the sun he shone round us,
disarming our fearfulness. And, for a moment,
our heaving world stood still.

©Ann Danskin


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