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Image: Tina Tiller
Image: Tina Tiller

BooksJanuary 28, 2022

The Friday Poem: A Report on the Ocean, by David Eggleton

Image: Tina Tiller
Image: Tina Tiller

A new poem by Poet Laureate David Eggleton.

A Report on the Ocean

you want to strip the atoll,
drag it all underwater,
you want to extend your tidal reach,
you want to bring the standing wave ashore,
darker tinge of your deeper waters
lapping from crystal shallows and acquamarine,
where roots of mangrove forests
bend like limbo dancers
beneath flow of warm currents


you survey, you eddy,
you search, you surround,
you lift the copra freighter
from its rusted anchors,
you drown the taro plantation
in its flooded salt marsh,
islands boggle and settle to your brackish surge,
the niu falls from the coconut tree
and floats out in search of another island


you leave your message
in anger at the bigger breach,
while buoys and fuel drums swirl
with bottles, toothbrushes, plastic bags,
cigarette lighters, tampon applicators,
plastic six-pack beer can holder
wrapped around muzzle of the dolphin,
driftnets in mazy patterns of screen-savers,
factory trawlers that vacuum shoals of fish
through washes of dead water


your weather patterns of wild indigo,
your blue starfish, your purple thunderheads,
your forked stabs of lightning,
your hammering rain, teach
and tease in lagoons of your latitudes,
your guano islets lie abandoned,
your powder-white sandbanks glitter,
coral skeleton reefs fall away to the sea floor
from languid lisp of your breakers


above you, bony ribs of thin clouds hang,
crossed by vapour trail’s streak,
planet smudged to high heaven by carbon,
but, colossal from your horizon,
climbs sun, and the frigate bird glides
over the the shining mud, the living crab,
the octopus squeezing through rocks,
the parrotfish that revels in gentle rills
from big waves that undercut
the low-lying road and shrinking beach,
where your tide-beating heart rolls


The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are currently closed and will open again soon.

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