Tristan’s Visit to Iseult
I am coming over sea-mountains
with skins of longings and sights
of untellable things for your cauldrons.
The distant thunder is my precursor,
warning of anxiety somewhere. The sky
is trying to obscure me in its glowers.
Yet the cuckoo is on my side,
commentating on my position in the odds
against me. One remark it confides
repetitively, though you know I am making
progress on fishes’ routes, now and then
in the leas offered by Neptune resting.
Every league I navigate will ask
how you are, every fathom between bedrock
and surface for you labour. If I could,
I’d twist the flying peaks like ears
so they fall down at your feet as if
from vultures’ beaks with gifts of lace
and cheeses. You will have to make do
with laying fires in the grate on my traces –
your bones latticed into kindling
until, wiping off abrasives of salt
and light, over sweetmeats I confirm
our own lands I took with me, sailing.
Patricia McCarthy, winner of The Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition 2013, is the editor of the national/international poetry journal, Agenda.
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