Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Miner’s Cook

Flying in, the sea is dark and demanding.

Our island appears like a jewel and grows

green until we circle to land,

then I see the red sore gouged at its centre

and my bile rises as the plane drops.

On the ground I am lost in the chaos

of unloading in a sudden dark that hides everything

beyond our beams. I’m looking for the bread,

fresh bread brought to last this first week

but by the time I’ve found it the loaves are gnawed to stale crusts

and I’m in despair with a hungry crew to feed.

I must push my fear and sorrow

out into the dark and be grateful when our neighbours,

the whalers, come over the hill with roast meat.

I stumble asleep among crates of food

and dream of home but when I wake up I’m still here

and a relentless dawn calls me to breakfast for thirty.

For days of sorting supplies and learning a new kitchen,

fuelling men between their shifts,

all I ever see is the grassy slopes sheltering our camp,

a wink of water behind us and a sky full of strange stars.

Finally there is time for a walk, up the hill:

I see again the bleeding gash I am feeding,

and vomit into the grass.


Joan said...

Oh my goodness Meliors..this is..raw..and makes me take a big breath. Earth-carer.. I will take this with me as I go..

Anonymous said...

MAkes me want to read more.
Draws me in!

Claire Beynon said...

This is indeed a startling, wrenching poem, Meliors. It throws itself at our individual and global consciences... how we all feed the 'bleeding gash'. How nauseating and terrible that is. And still, the 'wink of water behind us and a sky full of strange stars."
Thank you for the discomfort. We need reminding even when we think we're listening.

Claire Beynon said...


Have you 'met' Anita Bruce and her work yet, Meliors? If not, you're in for a treat - seems to me you two speak the same language.


Tim Jones said...

That's a great poem, Meliors - at once well crafted, and raw and immediate, which is a hard combination indeed to pull off.