Sunday Poem

Below the Hill of the Three Churches

The little oyster dragger swings out
on its hawser as far right
as the first flat run of tide in the channel
allows. It panics a frieze of willets into
running left away from its hull, or else
the hull is still and the shifting birds
suggest motion to it, as a ship departing
will seem to set the pier underway; but now
the dragger’s tending left where a
smoke-light skein of least sandpipers
just landed, a shoal creeping forward as
the willets step right, stiff-legged,
mimicking the bridge crossing mud on stilts
far down where a gull begins to slide
on a crawl of heat among exposed hummocks.
Taken with its own effortless riding, it
spins this way on the silt-lift, now that.
Come quick out the door of the Feed and
Grain and ground me with a sack of
sunflower seeds: under three spires
I’d believed rigid until now,
everything’s deviating from the mean.

by Brendan Galvin
Sky and Island Light
Louisiana State University Press, 1996