Jeff and I met today to read our second round poems to each other and vote on the best poem for the round. It was a great afternoon despite the blustery rain and wind on the South Bank. We sat outside to read and drew on the help of two waiters to help choose the best poem of the round.
by Jeffrey Loffman
Prompted by J.M.W. Turner’s ‘Fishermen At Sea’
The open boat slaloms across the mounting wave
Crash upon crash against starb’rd
Hanging on to masts and fixed boxes
Showered awash and swathed in fear
We cling on – our faces blinded by wash
Our noses full of fish piles in baskets
Fins flapping like sails wrapped by storm
As full moon occasionally glints between black sky
Winds whip around and, distantly, a thunder burst
Far from home we are told to keep nets out
And the boat is beaten and pummelled
Will we see the dawn rise? hear gulls scream?
All we can hear is the roll bellow of towering sea
All we can feel is sodden and still soaking
All our clothes drip under our waterproofs
All on the North Sea angling for our future
Our well-being, praying to dock and beach
See lights on the shore, see home again.
And here is a poem from me that Jeff rather liked.
Even nowthirty-seven years later
I’m still unwrapping
the gifts inside
the music box
he bought for us
one quiet Christmas morning.
And still I plunge my hand
into that darkness
and pull out the music
still hidden deep inside.
Music now so far from him
it lies out of his reach
an unfamiliar language.
But I remember
long lost Sunday mornings,
sitting at the dinning table
in his vest,
his soft voice rising
while his hands tapped out
the beat from an old biscuit tin.
And I can still hear
those first songs
strong and clear,
and see in his blue eyes
“a bright golden haze on the meadow”
the “cattle standing like statues”
and an old river of sound
flowing out through the years.
© David Loffman
I hope you like the poems