Tristan da Cunha

          tristan da cunha*

I.
might have been home
the place i was born
yet it always
felt unlikely
that i should be born
there out where
the ocean cannot
hide from itself
just a sky of it
dawn to
evening ragged
with surf
the boom of
starlight
down
on
us.

II.
were it home
would it still be
that feeling in
returning, that
of having
realised
you had not
done the homework
the project given
you as final
mark
and now
you had to
own up
to what you
had not done
the omissions
far worse than
the petty
acts

III.
were it home
would i be lost
there in the
horizons
of it?
the mountain
basalt behind
your back
the shadow of
life itself how
hard it can grow
rearing up
to cloud
behind you
the clouds
that have no
where else to
rest in this
cold wilderness
except here
on their way
to nowhere.

IV.
were it home
could i stand
the mountain
the stout volcano
that drives itself
into cloud into
sky into the
deepest nook
of dream would
i start to think
that i was this
mountain in
same isolation
the seas nothing
to me just the
ripples of
aging at my
skin

V.
would i take
to the streets
of edinburgh of
the seven seas*
days in drunken
anger or swimming
dangerously in
love’s rip
not even notice
the mountain
the priestly
order of its
slopes
forget even
the long cries
the ribbons
and bows of
sea birds
falling
the gull
standing at
the lintel
cawing.

 VI.
were it home
sweet home
of elder blood
the slow walkers
quick to greet
as blinking
always a task
to lay your hand
to hauling on rope
hauling fish
welcoming the
odd visitor from
the ‘odd’ world
i’d think would
i hang on to
that mountain
shadow until
i could not
hold any
longer
take a few
shots of scotch
whiskey until
i could hold
on yet
again?

VII.
were it home
then i would
know them all
from birth
to death
to rest in
finally against
the mountain
no longer
afeared its
shadow the
stay of cloud
upon it
would i care
about a world
too far away
from the good
sense of what
we had here
to worry about
i too would
grow to marry
in those channels
of the blood
woven tighter
by the generation*
some day
the mountain
stop my breath
at the sighting
of one bright
star listing
to evening
to dawn
in a shower
or holding
my wife’s
hand
standing on my
age that would
give like eggshell
the
mountain
coming now
to rest
upon
me.

            3 july, 2013

*The world’s most isolated settlement located in the Atlantic Ocean. A British colony, Trista Da Cunha, with Edinburgh of the Seven Seas as ‘capital’ (and only ‘town’ on the island) lies 2,000 kilometres from nearest inhabited land, Saint Helena, 2,400 kilometres from the nearest continental land, South Africa, and 3,360 kilometres from South America according to Wikipedia.

*’The current population is thought to have descended from 15 ancestors, eight males and seven females, who arrived on the island at various times between 1816 and 1908. The male founders originated from Scotland, England, The Netherlands, the United States and Italy and share just eight surnames: Glass, Green, Hagan, Lavarello, Patterson, Repetto, Rogers, and Swain’ according to Wikipedia

tristan-da-cunha-island
Tristan da Cunha
tristan-da-cunha
Edinburgh of the Seven Seas, the ‘capital’ and only town

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