You never knew the harbour



All is sparrows, and they sing where the fishermen once toiled.

Archipelagos of lichen
All across the harbour walls,
Splatters on granite, older than sparrows.
To find its wholeness is an act of discerning.
Yet who can know the texture of that rock,
Those that will never know the flash of the sand-eel,
Sparrows, or the tremble of gold between waves.

Image courtesy of George Dennis

Now lichen blights this silent harbour
Where slate roofs are layered
By the crude lashings of oil-paint.
Rich yellow oil-paint – or is it lichen?
Ask the watchers on the clifftop
And they will whisper
            ‘Rust, roofs that rust, rust on shipwrecks’.
Yet to the sparrows it is only lichen. 

Featured image courtesy of George Dennis