Sidney Wharf

Thieving in mid-flight, the gulls

Rob each other of dangling crab-guts,

Tossed from the long wharf.


Lines of yellow chord

Curve into the dark water,

To the baited traps below.


The crabbers get no clue,

No sign a crab is feasting down there,

Oblivious to his capture, until


He is hauled aloft for a look-see.

The crabber stifles a curse or a sigh…

Another too-small one is tossed back.


The gulls still circle, like dogs about a table,

Who wait for a vagrant scrap, dropped

With a secret smile,  by a bored boy.


Only if Someone is Watching

The sun wasn’t up yet, when we reached Tolmie’s top.

Although it is called a mountain, it has no peak,

No crowning of snow, no noble goal of endeavor,

Just a walk up the gravel trail,

The beagle sniffing and pissing and munching

God knows what, a few smears of frost still.

To the east, Mount Baker, a real mountain, volcano,

Silhouetted against a reddening sky;

A murder of  crows flies erratically, scattery,

Circling over nothing in particular;

And the occasional dog walker, like me,

Watches their mutt squat, pondering

That great morning existential question:

Do I collect the shit?

Only if someone is watching.

No one in sight,

And it’s hidden in the grass,


The Grey of Tintern

Many years ago, I began writing poem-stories about a place I named Tintern Island.  Every so often, it appears again.  Here is a recent one.  At Tintern Island the sky is grey