April 5: Two Poems about Water

Not that I'm tempting rain, but... I've been writing an article about water politics in Lucrecia Martel's cinema and it's plunged me into thinking about water's significance, both pragmatic and sacred -- and linguistic. English is soaked with water metaphors: for intensity, for porousness, for purity and pollution, for sight and death, for the spirit and the body, and for knowledge. Quenched, drenched, parched, eddying: our minds are made of water.Distil or overflow, that's water's question. Water and metaphor even become each other in Ani Difranco's "self evident," which opens:

us people are just poems
we're 90% metaphor
with a leanness of meaning
approaching hyper-distillation


April 4

Written by the Thames, this poem looks back to the previous Saturday night -- when the clocks went back, and I was stargazing by the Lake of Menteith.

Medusa sets sail in an abandoned bathtub
rigging of twigs and twig-snagged twine
roots (exposed by dry erosion) are her oars
the shore's small pebbles
clink as she casts off
in her ceramic coracle
running the line of twilight
as the sun hauls itself in, hand
over hand and gold
greys down to black at earthtilt

it's just her and the ducks in love
season, honking at the edge of her binoculars
and Orion on the still surface, a bobbing lure
to catch the moon
in its lost hour
found as she dredges the lake
with the net of her hair
unruly snakes smoothed by a southerly hint
summer is icumen in


April 5

hanging sheets she's overcast
by rain like a mouthful of pins
three geese overhead
in nettle-shirt formation
fingers work at arrow-stitch
and unpick

she secretes needles
will sew herself inside-
out as hem to hem she edges
towards a centre