by Iain James Robb

For here in the vortex are no other laws,

Than separate towards you I and skirting stone-

To wards where wavelets purr against their pause

A moment more, to yawn to omicron…

Inside the seashell orchard's whirl-quick floor-

Come all at once to me or quickly linger,

With mandarin eye and Pharossed into finger-

Curved at the beach-head to retreat my shore.


It is not he, Ulysses, who says, “Swift, say

What paradigm of silver limbs entrenched in weed

Has made the farther breakers for your claim today?”

(The terraces, O victor, of the main recede.)

A black tooth's broken lighthouse juts from lordships, gone,

Of crumble-carrion one century had fixed more fair-

Amid the tide you do not see there as your shadow, stone

That merges distance with the freshet arms that hold my hair.


Adrenaline me, holstered on salt-sequined shoulders,

Glide my breasts liquescent on your liquid ride,

Float-ministress, of surf-enamoured solders

End and genesis, my labial mistress — Bride


To the ebb and vertex. You have saddled it some years,

Cast off in guarding drift upon your boulders:

O let me through this last, or penetrate and hold us-

We attractions straddled in your lane of tears


Battened out of breathing for the diamond one

Who stoops to touch us, and returns our story

Birthed and closured at the promontory,

Where you, reverbed again in absence, come.


Our sentinel, of silence, sapphire, sun…


When were you left there? Have I come at last

To save no saviour but the sieve and screen,

For the abrasive rains that let no moondrops in

That can parse your silence, and the agile cast

Of motions too slow for an hour to hold.

Wash over, tree, with limbs of whey and gold,

With red, and whiteness as contrite as sin


That shudders timidly into due beatitude;

It is not he, but I — you can yet keep this flower

I leave you, beached, ah my meridian tower;

For you the shipwreck dolls and wings were strewed

Of the fingerpuppets men had built to skim


The moon-blanched meadows and carnelian furrows,

That drink the equal apples of each moon and sun…

Hands strive to, yours, but born of stranger shallows,

Tear down your tower: flower, bud, and turn:

Release your breast to ships and frigid seraphim

Unloaded, way from where no skiffs return.


If hair were still as final hails the gales cut loose,

Let drift to nothing herewards, turn, white love, to circle:

The sign of Pisces be our light, your carnal oracle,

No longer chained awaiting for the sons of Zeus…


Whose flight from Troy was norwards from your wanting core,

Your Ararat above my pass, to star these reefs

With limbs that droop at venture, oh my Sinai, shore

Of broken beams and harvestings in interleaf,


The harvests that the waves flake on the scrub-board skin

More liquid than our own, stave -staffs that pound out thee:

Reflection of the other frames met quim to quim,

The mistress-mastering, me master of what masters me.


Chimera of the moon's math, virgin stroud, wisp clair,

That splits the orbit of the circle where a shadow, sheer

Casts itself from out a cloudlet, all is whitened here-

With hands that hold me from their surf and all that hulls my hair.