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(Photo: Stocksnap)
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BooksApril 10, 2020

The Friday Poem: Once by Vincent O’Sullivan

(Photo: Stocksnap)
(Photo: Stocksnap)

A new poem by Vincent O’Sullivan.




Once in my life I’ve been fishing. A brother-

in-law assured, ‘You don’t need to talk out there,’


so we didn’t. After an hour or so he lifted

this reluctant silvery strip


from its hook and walloped its head against

the ridge of the dinghy we sat in for those


aeons of hours off Rat Island, as some

people called it, this acre or so


of shallow crumbling yellowy cliffs

off the Herne Bay coast. That was fishing for me.


Oh, and another larger fish with scales

a bit like threshing diamonds racked


in the cradle of the dinghy until its life

went phut, a wet doused candle.


But until it did its heart I suppose it was

tossed about in rage at air dreadful


as water might be for us. Until ‘fishing’

stopped and it may as well have been a sock.


‘Once’ is from Vincent O’Sullivan’s forthcoming poetry collection Things OK With You? and is featured in The VUP Home Reader, a free ebook.

The Friday Poem is edited by Ashleigh Young. Submissions for The Friday Poem are currently closed and will reopen in May 2020.

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