he watched while now became then and then became now


a thousand tongues gawked at the sails from a corner of kent

                                                [admiral’s fid and fid]

gunter rigs told every woman that godwits had probed the medway mud


corrugated time licks the anchored dutch like a lollipop

                                                [clew garnet block]

there was no phantom ship here; the cutwater this time was real


a surprise dreamt up by de witt – unseen, a turnstone flipped a pebble


it was not clear who he was, this naked man, thinking in snatches

                                                [belaying pin rack and pin]

he walked in the marshland counting birds, pulling ships from his brain


small saplings sprouted from his shoulders as the chain was breached


later, the brothers were lynched and half eaten by the mob


the corpses felt a painter’s brush on their upside-down ribs

                                                [greenhouse in labour]

they leant their thoughts against a distant curtain wall


the pineapple told agneta of its paraguayan cradle. her green fingers listened

                                                [parrel truck and ribs]

it is so hot under this leaning glass, a copse of mizzen masts could grow


the mist will see a voice in the trees and dust on the idea

                                                [standing rigging]

quick, powder monkey! bring the magazine, the gun-crew is waiting



fabian peake    may 14 2017