Two Poems by David Landrum

Saint Ives

As I was going to Saint Ives . . .

the air broke clear
bathing the granite stones
and salted winds blew calm over the quays
white beaches, palm trees,
flowering hedges, gusts,
the seaweed stench, the raucous
gulls, loud doves

I met a man with seven wives . . .

holidays begun, we had to stand
on the train, schools emptying out
and everybody heading for the sea
we left Totnes in Devonshire
and passed the whistle-stops
the fertile farms, the meadowlands
hills rolling to the ocean
into the rocky heads and bights
Lizard Point, Land’s End
Saint Michael’s Mount
where the Royalist forces held
until Cromwell’s troops
climbed up the sheer rock face
and won the day

Each wife had seven sacks . . .

the tourists eat in open-air cafés
British, German, some Americans
along the cobble-streets
bob through the gallery
of Hepworth’s art
climb up the hill to Saint-George church
and surf and swim and walk

Each sack had seven cats . . .

the Cornish rose up in revolt
against The Book of Common Prayer
the Latin they had heard so many years
evaporated:  English, litany
rained down to baffle them

Each cat had seven kits. . .

at night the sterenn shine above the mor
the lighthouse, golowji, sends out its beam
to warn the gorhol sailing in the nos
of dangerous crags and headlands
and where the calming porth and safety lies

kits, cats, sacks wives

beside the granite coast

Land's End

The waters churn around the Seven Stones,
last footfall to the long Atlantic’s miles;
rock promontories, vertebrae and bones
of substratum, the bedrock shafts, the piles
that brace this island-mass of land stretched out
from Muckle Fluge to here;  the Hebrides
to smallish crags where white spume-circles spout,
the frothing tides of intercepted seas.

This other Eden, demi-paradise;
this England
.  Shakespeare shaped words the same way
these gull-embroidered islets shape and splice
the thridding currents roiling in this bay—
Land’s End but land’s beginning;  lifted palm
halting the sea before the coastland’s calm.

About the author

David W. Landrum lives and writes in Western Michigan. His poetry has appeared widely in journals in the US, UK, Australia, and Europe. Read…

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Issue 03 · February 2009

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