Poem: 51
Sunday, 19 February 2017

Into the wind.

Upon Durdle Door, 
Stood I on Dorset’s coast; and
Ironic found it that such a 
Civilized, quiescent hermitage stands
By in sight of cliffs of Jurassic memory…

Perched up on high rock
Pterodactyl wingspan, arms splayed wide
Reaching stormward in prehistoric pose

Lonely figure cut, barely 
Protected from whipping rain, flapping wind, 
Peering out, surveying 
Violent dark-grey clouds
Gathering over agitated oceans —

Sky to make war on Sea;
And Sea upon Land —

Unleash tumult! 
No shelter do I seek. 
Break upon me, as upon these cliffs.
Still standing, in bright morning, I will be
Proud, glistening.

Screaming into the wind — profanities, prayers, 
Truths I knew not; but which, at last, I heard,
Myself confess to myself
For the first time.

Heart-breaking, heart-expressing
These, my tears, lost in raindrops,
These, my storms, lost in the storm.

Sometimes, I wonder
Did anyone else hear me? 
What gods, what birds, what mermaid audiences,
I know not.

Solace shall I find, and refuge
In desolate pub, on hill-crest 
Of Cromwell’s ghost town,
Nestled underneath ominous
Ruins, Corfe’s castle, which 
Took me in as a solemn,
Sullen friend — for me; my heart, my mind;
Too perfect, a match.

By foot, I will take 
That last, that hidden trail
To Penzance, and further
Find St. Ives’ sheltered harbor 
And rest.

Had I come to find rest? 
Or exhaustion? 
Escaping from self-made trouble,
In wild, reckless abandon 
An adventure, 
Found both.

Back to London,
To button collar tie. Try
Try to focus, try to forget
That lonely journey, that last trail, 
That South West Coast Path, that
Shouting, screaming, 
Into the wind.

Home I shall return, to California’s
Too-golden shore, fake-smiles wearing,
Only half-renewed, only half-forgetting
That graveyard’s bitterness,
Where I had gone to bury
To cast into the deep
Forlorn feelings.

Landscapes prehistoric
Return on gloomy days
In San Francisco — for me; my heart, my mind; 
Too perfect, a match.

Recording available: 
Listen to me read this aloud.