Who goes to sea   knows heart’s care.
Groves blossom   burghs grow fair
meadows beautiful.   World quickens.
All things urge   spirit to embark
fare far   by flood-ways
though melancholy call   of summer’s lord
the cuckoo bode   bitter heart-sorrow.

– Andrew McNeillie. excerpt from In the Wake of ‘The Seafarer’



The tour has only started when
I’m ambushed by that flat-lined verdigris I’d know even
as a stumbling sleepwalker: landschap
with tin river, cleaver of sodden pastures — 

marvelous for painters,
says the docent, was the enormity
of the sky, rarely cloudless, and she’s already
turning to an Italian hillscape when I say wait! this is

my bloodstream, as my finger makes brief
unintended contact with the canvas,
and then my voice an ambulance
I tell her there should be a diagram
to indicate the grazing motion,
how the grinding molars of the Holsteins
make the river go — 

or else, self-portrait
in the glassing-over eye
of a stickleback caged in a jam jar,
left too long in the sun — 

but now the river is across the room because
the docent has ushered me toward an upholstered bench
and is murmuring, sit, sit, I have here from the staff room
a coffee, here you are — 

and I’m making the gesture for
no, those fields I ate and was made of
live in me, uncloseable

– Sadiqa de Meijer. Pastorals in the Atrium