A General History of Mutiny
(it’s all rigged)
but now at the top-sail furling out strong wind
with the padre’s
bowl of lemons
as we heave
mainbracing (the mainsail) our yard-arms angle at 70 degrees
above the swell
but a captain
(as the capstan turns)
will be widowed
in his many-windowed
will taste of the sea make his pleasant reconciliation
with the fathers of oak and sea-green teak
all ship-shape (what is the shape
of a ship as it dwindles
down to nothing
Whitened grass and deeply pinkened clover
shapes collapse and show their own reserve.
The ancient tumulus lurches and turns over
settling life’s journey in a different groove.
Silhouettes of love, shadows of flavour,
no black and white, just widely haloed grey.
The girl at dusk wears a mallow for a favour
glinting vermilion in the sun’s last ray.
No drum is beaten, no violin’s last glory,
no maddened clarinet assaults the sense;
the pause prolongs the finish of the story:
A pitch-black army pitches night’s black tents.
The Customs Post