Captain of the Lighthouse
where brother and I climb and call Land’s End. We are watchmen
overlooking a sea of hazel-acacia-green, over torrents of dust whipping about
in whirlwinds and dirt tracks that reach us as firths.
We man our lighthouse – cattle as ships. We throw warning lights whenever
they come too close to our jagged shore. The anthill, the orris-earth
lighthouse, from where we hurl stones like light in every direction.
Tafara stands on its summit speaking in sea-talk, Aye-aye me lad – a ship’s a-
coming! And hurls a rock at the cow sailing in. Her beefy hulk jolts and turns.
Aye, Captain, another ship saved! I cry and furl my fingers into an air-long
telescope – searching for more vessels in the day-night.
Now they low on the anthill, stranded in the dark. Their sonorous cries haunt
through the night. Aye, methinks, me miss my brother, Captain of the
lighthouse, set sail from land’s end into the deepest seventh sea.
from Spirit Brides
Carcanet Press Ltd., Manchester, 2006