The Silkies

David Hart

Someone last Autumn put the evil eye on Mrs Kendrick

for hanging bright crimson knickers on the line

n sight of where the boats come in.


And as the word got around the island

still the knickers flew there,

and they flew through last week's luminous storms

and through the lovely day we had on Sunday

when Jock proposed to me. Nobody of us


has spoken to Mrs Kendrick all these winter days. My dream

last night told me everyone has been cleared out

and that in the stolen land Mrs Kendrick alone remains,

she is hiding in a cave

below the water line

diving and gliding and eating blenny and shanny with the seals

and whispering to them at the hurt reach of her voice,

It's all you've got

wear the sea close, then she bleeds

all the way home; she is wearing a room

where the plaster flaps off the walls

revealing pictures of the hosts of hell,

dead pelicans queue on the roof,

cupboards sag full of uneaten  meals.

windows have layers of faces into their dew.

yet the wrath of roses on the door

drips loveliness. Boats fill the harbour,


it' s the time of year, Mrs Kendrick makes red hot jam

for any captain away from home that wants it

on his night toast. I kiss Jock


on his rough lips in the shadows.