From my cottage kitchen window I can see
Two fields away the blue, the shining sea
And ships that slowly glide to far-off shores
Each one a separate world with its own laws;
They pass beyond my window and are gone.
When morning comes that miracle, the sun
Lifts slowly from the sea, a sacrament
Of grace and glory, or enlightenment.
My cottage truly is a house of light:
By night shines Sirius, cold and bright
And in the afternoon our living room
Seems more like a sunny meadow in mid-June.
From it we see the sun prepare to slumber
Wrapped in the gleaming waters of the Humber
While to the south another lighthouse shines—
Peace be to Spurn and you who read these lines.
The winter sun, golden and tired,
settles on the irregular army
of bottles. Outside the trucks
jostle toward the open road,
outside it’s Saturday afternoon,
and young women in black pass by
arm in arm. This bar
is the house of silence, and we drink
to silence without raising our voices
in the old way. We drink to doors
that don’t open, to the four walls
that dose their eyes, hands that run,
fingers that count change, toes
that add up to ten. Suspended
as we are between our business
and our rest, we feel the sudden peace
of wine and the agony of stale bread.
Columbus sailed from here 30 years ago
and never wrote home. On Saturdays
like this the phone still rings for him.