Sixth Day – Fish-Life
Fish in the sea
they always look like
they want a kiss
from a dry-land stranger
when in truth, they are gasping their last
with a barb shooting out
of their aquatic tenderness
their eyes glued to your face
-Pam Flitt and Ivor Folio
You are the ocean and ocean is you.
One year of this life, as driftwood,
the world’s oceans I travelled.
The tide took me; the gulf lent a push.
My saga was enriched
with wisdom from nature’s oracles ;
spattered as it was, in so many places,
on ship’s hulls like barnacles.
On ice floes I laughed as we flipper-flapped
at a fish joke from a Seal,
In the Great Barrier Reef, I dodged
the snap of a Conger Eel.
A Puffer Fish made it known he had social spikes.
In open ocean floating free,
A Portuguese Man O War reminded me,
what those tentacles are for.
For a time, on a whale’s back I rode.
Soul-deep, the empathy of her eye,
There, I found, a kind of love that will never die.
From a Giant Turtle, a sad tale I heard;
he was the last one his kind.
Through Kelp forest, a see-through shoal
trumpeted my drift;
Horses no man can ride birthing foals
did the eye stroke and swish.
Until I gave myself to the ocean
a part of me always remained,
Separate, unconnected to the Dolphin within.
When I let go of fear, truth salted my skin.
Life became simple –
it’s just the ocean we’re in.
Salt is vital,
it’s the the stone-people’s gift.
The blood-iron bitter-grit
For driftwood, flow is everything;
direction, chance, adventure.
-John Wolf 29th July 2021
The Marine Sonnets
Bottom feeder. I live in two waters.
Sense their electric impulses vibrate,
suck into my mouth all their shells and claws.
Soon move from Deep to brackish water. Wait
until I am used to warmer Narrow,
release my sticky eggs. My babies swim
seaward. Get used to brackish in Shallow
before move into Deep, not over rim.
Above dredge our living, scarifying
life, haul us up into light and dryness.
Harvest our babies before their birthing.
Hunted my ancestors rich meatiness.
Deep returned I may leap, keep the reason
a mystery, splash my flat sides, frisson.
Bios And Links
–Pam Flitt and Ivor Folio
write and perform spoken word, comedy and song in and around the Kent & Sussex borders. They have occasionally roamed further afield on their “Posh Villages Tour”, which they initially embarked upon just prior to the first lockdown, and hope to pick up where they left off for as long as Boris and Covid-19 allow. They have graced the stages of many local festivals both as performers and as coordinators of “Voices” spoken word events, and appear regularly on BBC local Radio. In recent months they have been working flat-out with a small committee of like-minded poets from The Kent & Sussex Poetry Society to organise and deliver The Tunbridge Wells Poetry Festival (15-27 August).
‘Author of two books of poetry: Surfacing (2018) and What the Owl Taught Me (2020), both published by Lapwing Poetry. Annest has been published in many literary journals and anthologies, both online and in print, and placed in several writing competitions, winning one. She is a nominee for Best of the Net 2021.’
poetry publications include Oswald’s Book of Hours (Smokestack, 2013), Englaland (Smokestack, 2015), Incendium Amoris (Smokestack, 2017), Bloody, proud and murderous men, adulterers and enemies of God (The High Window Press, 2018), Jubilate Messi (Shearsman, 2018), Zi-Zi Taah Taah Taah (Wild West Press, 2018) and Lectio Violant (Shearsman, 2021). He has also published a novel, Ratmen (Blackheath Books, 2012), and a biographical work, Ted Hughes’s South Yorkshire: Made in Mexborough (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). He is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Huddersfield.
lives in an old factory and works with elders. She has had poetry or flash fiction inHuman/Kind Journal, Rose Quartz Poetry Magazine, Hawk & Whippoorwill, The Cormorant, Radical: A Lit Zine, Chrysanthemum, Occulum, Flash, Paragraph Planet, and Flash Fiction Magazine. On Twitter @mourapoet, Instagram mourathepoet.