Tuesday Poem – Harbour (1), by Bernadette Keating

Harbour (1)

Dead photo surface,
reminiscence, and widowed stains of shadow matter.
Metalucent cut waves and forcing
to fold into brine like pleating.

Like something that is obvious –

Carson McCullers by the sea.
Roberto Bolano by the sea.
Yukio Mishima by the sea.
Leslie Scalapino by the sea.
Tennessee Williams by the sea.

The smells that the weather has perpetually
trapped and matured. Greenhouse green
all the time.

The lean worst place is
where my parents
took us for long walks the
wind inviting fury as a friend
and my cheeks. Salty distaste and stinging.
They’d say ‘a walk along the
South Coast’ – the same word with different knowledge.

Fluid naming, no point of reference, this
water is all the same, but I don’t
mind having shags pointed out to
Favourable conditions to muster sea animals in
tepid rivulets off beaks can drip
and dip my toes in twice, too familiar.

Brother who throws the seaweed
at my face, “you’re dead.” Quiet lapping
and just so, thankless dunes loom
whom never get wet.


Bernadette says this is part of three poems about Wellington Harbour, tied to experiences from her childhood and the present.

I love the ghostly feel of the past drifting in and out of photo-like images.


Tuesday Poem

2 thoughts on “Tuesday Poem – Harbour (1), by Bernadette Keating

  1. Oh, yes, ghostly, indeed. There is a strong sense of the past in these lines, the captured images. I love the lines ‘fluid naming, no point of reference’ – this is the beauty of the ocean for me! Thanks for posting and Merry Christmas!

  2. Yes, this poem feels like the tides – the movement, the power, the slippery nature of water. I like the way Bernadette moves in and out grasping and letting go of images, thoughts. The smell – ah, now that is fabulous. Looking forward to reading the rest of this series of poems.

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