Edwin Stockdale

The Specksioneer

‘Th’ whales hasn’t mended their manners, as you call it,’ said Charley Kinraid; ‘but th’ ice is not to be spoken lightly on.’
Elizabeth Gaskell, Sylvia’s Lovers (1863)

Sylvia is asleep,
pictures Charley and his profession.
She thinks he has an expressive face,
a weather-bronzed complexion;
she admires his deep-set penetrating eyes.


The whaling-boat lies
on aventurine-coloured water,
drifts into an iceberg’s shadow.

Harpoon a whale,
lash its fins together,
fasten its tail to the boat.

Crashing, roaring,
blinding spray;
gulp of the foaming waters.

Boat and whale vanish,
yet the iceberg remains:
silent, grim.


Travel to the Southern seas,
a wall of ice as high as the monastery on the cliffs.

Sail for days seeking
for a way through the grey-green mass.

A cleft in the weary rock of ice
with smooth sides.

Inside: garnet and topaz flames
of unearthly kind.

Never a shred was melted.

Copyright © Edwin Stockdale 2013

Edwin’s recent magazine publications are the Coffee House, Drey (Red Squirrel Press), ink sweat & tears, the Interpreter’s House, Obsessed with Pipework, Orbis, Poetry Salzburg Review, Poetry Scotland and Snakeskin.  He currently works as an Early Years Professional in a community nursery just outside Chester.

About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
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