Poems and Poetry

The Language of Water | A Poem by Marie MacSweeney

Centuries of wheels
over water, child’s footsteps
across the footbridge
echo mine.

Blennerville and Percy Place,
the harbour, ships
and unloaded,

gunshot and rebellion
beside the canal,
ricochet defacing
Georgian glass and stone.

Winter-fat river in Brecon Beacons
struts through
tavern doors, drowning
these once dancing floors

though it is
St. David’s Day
and the bar hums
with a Welsh lilt

and the whiskey
is so close to the flood,
while the prize sits there,
for the largest leek.

Led closed-eyed
to my ‘wee surprise’,
he offers
blood-red geometry

over the mice-grey waters
of the North Sea, steel
braced against
angles of tide and sky,

and our eyes stall
the fragile worlds
of grief and joy,

the high wide
wonder of it all,
buoyant blue spaces
between clouds.

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