James Fenton – The Milkfish Gatherers   Leave a comment

James Fenton reads The Milkfish Gatherers from his book Out of Danger

The Milkfish Gatherers
The sea sounds insincere
Giving and taking with one hand.
It stopped a river here last month
Filling its mouth with sand.

They drag the shallows for the milkfish fry—
Two eyes on a glass noodle, nothing more.
Roused by his viligant young wife
The drowsy stevedore

Comes running barefoot past the swamp
To meet a load of wood.
The yellow peaked cap, the patched pink shorts
Seem to be all his worldly goods.

The nipa booths along the coast
Protect the milkfish gatherers’ rights.
Nothing goes unobserved. My good custodian
Sprawls in the deckchair through the night.

Take care, he says, take care—
Not everybody is a friend.
And so he makes my life more private still—
A privacy on which he will attend.

But the dogs are sly with the garbage
And the cats ruthless, even with sliced bread,
As the terns are ruthless among the shoals.
Men…
(read more)

James Fenton

Postat april 22, 2013 av estraden i poets from English-speaking regions

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