Yup. The Top Banana is back- on an irregular basis- but back. I’ve had six months of not wanting to write anything- hence nothing has been written. But I’ve had a bit of a renaissance over the last few weeks.
This poem came out of nowhere last week. No wrestling about, no writing endless drafts. It just arrived. I’ve never written anything like it before, and it feels entirely alien to me.
Any comments would be welcome.
Saint or madman ?
Maybe both. He looked the part –
hair greasy as a fat ewe’s back –
eyes damson dark behind a fall of beard.
Lived in a stone shed, shoulder high,
he built with slates and stuff he found
dumped by the tide in straggling drifts of weed.
Ate barnacles and whelks scraped off the rocks,
and rabbits which he blessed before
he stretched their necks and skinned them
with a flint the Old Ones left behind.
He had the healer’s touch –
would cure a winter fever
by rubbing spittle on the eyes and mouth..
Ploughmen heard him in the early dawn,
bawling at the sky and giving God
a good lambasting.
Longliners in the bay at night
heard his voice – a trumpet call.
Naked, waist deep in the slopping waves
he sang the mackerel in.
It worked too.
Every boat came back
loaded with twitching silver
those times he sang.
One autumn night the sky was filled with fire –
islands of emerald in a saphire sea
turning and shifting above our heads.
The air crackled like autumn ice.
Next day we found him dead among the dunes.
Flat on his back, eyes wide.
They say he died of wonder.
To bury him seemed wrong and so
we left him for the gulls to pick at.
When they were done
we each took something from him –
a tooth, an ankle bone
for a memory
and left the wind
to draw a sheet of sand
over the rest.