The sea is neither animal
nor god. Won’t be tamed or appeased.
Aidan gave his young priest oil
to calm the waves, but myth is most useful
when it rouses a body
to work harder. Body, spirit, fire and water
having been absorbed into the world
of commerce in which even
the seabirds participate. Their convergence
a sign of herring in the Haikes. Profit
unites great distances, yet its heart
beats inside us. But Evelyn,
whatever counts me truly among the living
resides with you. The rest just
perseverance and good gear.
Ran 30 minutes from Fife Ness, all nets shot
by 9, sky looks like wind. Soon,
heavy swell, the underwater cables
writhing. This foul coastline
laced in wrecks. We’ll take tea with the black squad
while we can, and your fine bread,
Evelyn. The ‘38 winter herring
overspilled box and barrel, silvered the piers
at St. Monans, and the market so strong
fish girls’ fingernails dissolved
in brine. No one can predict how herring run.
They are a tender species, easily
influenced. Luck brought them in
with money circulating freely
as the Germans prepared for war.
Appearing as though they originate in spiritual rather
than material seed, as proof
we don’t know how to properly celebrate
or mourn – bindweed and ox-eye daisy, cranesbill, harebell,
haresfoot clover, whose ideology is fragrant
and sticky, the underside of thinking blooming
across centuries. Bountiful arguments
for belief, in equal profusion against it.
My many regrets have become the great passion of my life.
One may also grow fond of what there isn’t
much of. Grass of Parnassus –
and when you finally find it, it’s just okay.
But look for lies and you will see them everywhere, like
the melancholy thistle, an erect spineless herb
of the sunflower family. That the eradication of desire
promotes peace and lengthens life
is not uncommon advice; still, you can’t simply wait
until you feel like it. The beauty of the campions,
bladder and sea, the tough little sea rocket,
is their effort in spite of, I want to say, everything,
though they know nothing of what we mean
when we say everything, it is a sentiment referring only
to itself. Purple toadflax, common mouse-ear,
orchids, trefoils, buttercup, self-heal,
the Adoxa moschatellina it’s too late in the year for,
I can hardly stand to look at them.
And all identified after the fact
but for the banks of wild roses, the poppies you loved
parked like an ambulance by the barley field.
Photograph © super awesome