Fish out of water
share your dry stone pool:
Z-rod and V-rod; comb and mirror;
wolf and whale; serpent and crescent;
horse and rider in perfect profile,
the affectation of dispensing with stirrups
in emulation of those foreign emperors
whose cupidity and presumption
our forebears fought off long ago
yet another irony lost upon us
as we admire the craftsmanship,
the contours, incisions, the relief,
that catch you, the symbol-salmon,
no longer able to swim and swerve
over gravel beds strewn with boulders
arranged and eroded by glacier and flood
ten millennia hence, to leap and launch yourself
through cataracts of impossible airborne time,
escaping the grimace and gritted teeth
of the warriors in pursuit,
who share your fate now time is less fluid
upon a boulder quarried and carved by man,
a surface that knows rain instead of river,
and the cloudy time-lapse smirr,
the clanjamfrie of centuries of spectators
who marvel without understanding,
each peeling their thin glimpse of you
from the membrane of stone to which you cling
rubbing you smoothe with fumbled curiosity
and whatever wisdom there is in that
is held within the secret silence of the stone.
We cast our net
and catch more than we bargained for.
We hear the first crack of creation
reverberate through this ocean trench of time.
We discreetly eavesdrop on black holes
as though listening to distant whale-song,
and with the sudden tension in our line
we reel in monsters that swallow stars.
What I remember are the birds,
so many birds,
filling the gull-blighted sky like a vortex
consuming the city
in a single continuous act of sky burial,
its atheist ziggurats
monuments to nothing but themselves,
in the cane fields between Havana and Santiago.
Peter Clive lives on the southside of Glasgow, Scotland with his wife and three children. He is a scientist working in the renewable energy sector. As well as poetry, he enjoys composing music for piano and spending time in the Isle of Lewis. Peter has been published in Poetry Republic, Writer’s Cafe Magazine, Cadaverous Magazine, Reflections, Riggwelter, The Blue Nib, Causeway, and elsewhere, and performs occasionally at events in the Glasgow area. He blogs at moflomojo.blogspot.com.