Issue 9

Autumn 2013


Return to the Islands

It was the fourth day out, the tide had been slow,
the wind down; to make up time they rowed

and that night rested. The air was changing;
I smelt flowers. The sky to the West deepening.

The watch slept, only the tarpaulin awake;
sleepy at first, ‘till the big drops broke.

Then all was uproar: scrambling, shouting;
I was, ah, back in the woodland, distinguishing

scents of violet, marsh marigold, hemlock;
and the catch-at-the-heart of wild garlic.

Wild garlic. And for that moment off guard
the sea sneaked long feelers in, then hurrahed

meeting sweet rain; and the nails jumped their post,
the caulking crumbled; wind took what was lost.

If any of me should return, let it be where
wild garlic grows down to the shore.
Just there.



Michael Murray