Thursday, 11 June 2009

One Poem by Jane Commane

Shivering Sands

Cast alone tripod

Maunsell fort –

an army
on stilts.

of weld-sparks

on cliff-face metal.


Our backs to England,
the shingle of Kent’s horizon shores.

Rust relics in Pathé newsreel:
nails above the coffins,
the hem of split rivets,
the flotillas of corporals.

Six long weeks of fever.

       Give me land,
       a place to sleep
       that does not
       and roll
       beneath dreams.

Cast alone as creels,
at the estuary’s wide gab.

Hollow storm-broken knells
isolation’s slow rust

tubular gush
of tide echo in tin legs.

Calendar hours,
in the squall of waves
forms of faces
as trawlers
in grey channel haze.

The sand banks
Shudder-shift below us.

       knows us
       U-boat coordinates
       lost to the brine.

       Signals down and
       the Thames sleeps safe.)

Battleship anchored
Radio marooned
stoic sunk to streaked russet
       scarlet black
decommissioned welds,
the innards split.

Maunsell fort – radio inactive.
general synopsis, deepening rapidly
       Screaming Lord Sutch
southeast veering southwest
       - no signal, frequency eccentric.

       Somewhere to sleep
       without the pitch and roll.

Gun-turret uncapped,
searchlight winched free,
wounds open to salt.

We stare out
at nothing

our backs to the sea
England expects but is dreaming.

Kent unfurls a long grey shingle tidemark of coast

quayside pubs spill out warmth

cast a lantern’s show –

come home

war’s over.

Jane Commane runs Nine Arches Press with Matt Nunn, and they also co-edit Under the Radar magazine. She is currently working on a first collection, due out in Summer 2010.

Her poems have previously featured on G&P.

No comments: