Bright Coast

By Martin Malone


this is understood:
drawn line of horizon
stretched across a bay
the gods died making,
morning’s urgent grave
upon the gable end
and hands above
a woodblock, trimming
the void to light
as another day
answers for itself


art school of the brae
and cherryburn wren;
this valley thick with corn
and morning’s ink of light;
return to me a childhood
type-high to the now
of a silver shilling;
gift me the sea’s slow prism
and the lumen hours
of a northern shore
always at my shoulder,
always prone to rain


how it alters colour, how it
makes and unmakes shadow;
how it comes ready-made
by morning to the folded cliffs,
drawing at the core of it all,
as the winter sun’s candela
scorps the six-hour day
from the hollow of my palm,
thumb along the blade,
resurfacing the light:
everything feeds into this


idiom of line and light,
the moon overprints
itself upon the block
of night
to the shore’s rake;
drops Fresnel
onto slate roof
and dormer;
among the lanes
of the sleeping town;
form into
of home
and the full-house
of this dark


not simply the eye
alive to now
but a mind awake
to time and
the composite days
of this sickle strand,
its clarity of air,
patinas of slate
and sharply angled light,
askance upon
the boxwood:
these marks we make,
centre to edge,
block on the sandbag
aligned to the Pole.

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