PoetryIssue 03 | February 2009

Two Poems by David Landrum

Saint Ives

As I was going to Saint Ives . . .

the air broke clear
bathing the granite stones
and salted winds blew calm over the quays
white beaches, palm trees,
flowering hedges, gusts,
the seaweed stench, the raucous
gulls, loud doves

I met a man with seven wives . . .

holidays begun, we had to stand
on the train, schools emptying out
and everybody heading for the sea
we left Totnes in Devonshire
and passed the whistle-stops
the fertile farms, the meadowlands
hills rolling to the ocean
into the rocky heads and bights
Lizard Point, Land’s End
Saint Michael’s Mount
where the Royalist forces held
until Cromwell’s troops
climbed up the sheer rock face
and won the day

Each wife had seven sacks . . .

the tourists eat in open-air cafés
British, German, some Americans
along the cobble-streets
bob through the gallery
of Hepworth’s art
climb up the hill to Saint-George church
and surf and swim and walk

Each sack had seven cats . . .

the Cornish rose up in revolt
against The Book of Common Prayer
the Latin they had heard so many years
evaporated:  English, litany
rained down to baffle them

Each cat had seven kits. . .

at night the sterenn shine above the mor
the lighthouse, golowji, sends out its beam
to warn the gorhol sailing in the nos
of dangerous crags and headlands
and where the calming porth and safety lies

kits, cats, sacks wives

beside the granite coast

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About the author

David W. Landrum teaches Literature at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan and is editor of Lucid Rhythms.  His fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous journals and magazines. 

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