Poems and Poetry

Sea Sense | A Poem by Marie MacSweeney

But what I wondered was
how you reckoned
distances, could count
the sea miles sailed
before boats anchored here,
discerned oceans
in men’s eyes.

You judged
the freight of nations too,
how sundry galleys shone
in the sun of Tobago
or Trinidad, how this ship
or that navigated
an icy Baltic.

Full steam ahead
in your own space
you were yet
your father’s child,
the ocean’s roar
in your ears
your grandmother’s cutter

barely below the waterline,
of your memory,
and the smell
of the village harbour
at low tide,
sun sinking.

Half a century later
a day-blink
opens that world
for me,
taste of sea salt
on my skin
making sense.


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