Poem, Poetry

Craig Dobson


Less a border than an end of choice:
marsh land, mists, cries to frighten any night.
Beyond are stone lands; beyond those: ice.
Law here favours the living.

Furs, amber, mammoth calves,
whale snout, slaves and dirt-strong
spirit, moving both ways
like souls uncertain of themselves.

Business happens quick, never alone.
Dogs smell fear, wolves and the weak.
Grey tomorrow, grey today.
What must is done, then stole away.

All the cold of stone and water
worshipping only wind: gulls for seraph,
moans for prayer, a god of storms
to wash off blood. Those with fire die for it.

Litter migrates north. Oils, plastic, the jitter
of nuclear spill. Currents pass on
what isn’t eaten by the starving shoals;
nothing is wasted save regret.

The real trade’s in ghosts, though:
the myths of myths of more. For those,
men go farther still, into cold so fast
they’re young again before they die –

just before – the flint kindnesses
giving in, the greed freezing their eyes
to dream the wounded time again,
striking nothing’s richest need.

Craig’s been published in Acumen, Agenda, Antiphon, Butcher’s Dog, Crannóg, The Frogmore Papers, Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Interpreter’s House, The London Magazine, Magma, Neon, New Welsh Review, The North, Orbis, Pennine Platform, Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Poetry Village, Prole, The Rialto, Stand, Southword and Under The Radar.