Jill is a poet from Yorkshire with an obsession with the sea. She’s a former NHS worker who now diverts herself with sailing, knitting and ranting about global injustice.
I am letting go
of social obligations
that are my own fault –
signing up to festivals
I’m not interested in;
upholding one-way telephone calls;
arranging inconvenient meetings –
when the easiest thing
would be to let worn-out associations
expire quietly from benign neglect.
Is it such a good thing
to be known as a ‘stayer’,
to have more loyalty cards than money,
to hang on grimly like a Jack Russell with a rat,
to revive auld acquaintance like Dr Frankenstein?
Let them go.
Days like this you’ve won the lottery;
sails set fair on the sea-glitter,
warps coiling themselves like snakes in a basket
and the boat tacking sweet as a nut,
your hand light on the tiller
through all the pretty white horses.
Days like this you can forget
what it cost you, forget the dog days,
the doldrums, the deluges.
This time you really struck it big.
A selection of shoes I have purchased:
pink-heeled sandals, transparent uppers, pink-gemmed;
Italian ponyskin stilettos, leopard printed;
Orange-flowered satin wedge platform sandals;
Black netting, strapped mid-calf stiletto boots.
These and many others huddle together,
disregarded, in the bottom of my wardrobe.
They fail to see what they have done wrong,
and why words like ‘comfortable’ and ‘sensible’
should be bandied around, insultingly.
They are still au courant, they insist.
I agree, I tell them. It’s not you, it’s me.
She liked to hear the little noises that they made –
the squeaks, the squeals, almost like they could speak.
Their little flapping fins, starfished like tiny tentacles.
Their curious armour, seemingly purposeless.
The way most avoided water, as if afraid!
When she was bored she liked to play with them,
show her strength and beauty to their puny ugliness.
Make no mistake, she knew they were killers,
could strike at any moment without provocation.
But not this variety, the shoals of squeakers
crammed together in their tin carrier.
These could be her prey, and it amused her
to entertain, knowing that with a tail-beat
she could swat them all from the surface of her planet.