Heading North

“It’s stretchy, so it clings” you said
We roll up thermals on the bed
Squeeze shut the suitcase seldom used
Where burst-seam backpacks have made do
Grasp the compass in the drawer
Cheap brass which tarnishes the more
It’s used, but warming there in hand
It whispers: Nansen, far from land

“You’ve got the passports?” partly yawned
Stretching rose of emberate dawn
On silent streets through which we steal
Luggage rumbling, plastic wheels
Pat my pocket, dozy grin
Heave the suitcase and we’re in
And off – dark miles on ghost-grey roads
Which cannot speak of where we go

“Do you think we’ll see a bear?”
You daydream, far off in the air
Our cabin’s chill an icy blue
Outside the sea, the sky, a soothing
Hum of engines, heading north
To distant lands not yet explored
By us, to unclaimed memories
Still locked in permafrost unseen.

Mary and I will be taking a trip to Svalbard in a little over a month.


A day at sea has put us in
At Trollfjord. Giant-watched we turn
Fish leap from the massive wake
Our ship a town afloat, and we
Beneath the orange boats look out
On dead drop sides, awaiting scrapes
Where waters fall, as after all
Comes after all, and falls as this:
No sun to miss, just pallid clouds
A dimecut day set firm in night,
Here sunset hangs at 1am
The three month day begins.


Look out of your window
At the city, at the sea
All of it is moving, as
You move so far from me

Look down at your footprints
Pressed into the ancient sand
Til the grey Atlantic slides
And sweeps them from the land

Look into the future
None of which is truly set
Ribbons torn and knotted, thick
But changing still, I bet

Look up to the the pole star
Wheeling through the northern sky
Fixed, a stationary point
And so, my love, am I.

Above the Tideline

When storms had tossed their last
When shifting sands had settled
In between frosting glass
And shards of salt-rust metal
Our driftwood bed awoke
Brushing seaweed from our eyes
No longer afloat, here
Above the sweeping tide

Each current, every squall
Every wind which skewed our course
Those times we risked it all
Never hoping for a shore
Wake upon these silent dunes
Look long into my eyes
I will return your gaze, because
We lived; we have survived.