The Friday Poem: Once by Vincent O’Sullivan

A new poem by Vincent O’Sullivan.

 

Once

 

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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