Fremantle Anchors

By | 1 January 1998

They’ve let their breath out now
and are taking it easy, lying back
or propped on an elbow, giant chain
trailing like strings of bubbles.
Most look straight through them
as if they’re a shrivelled fence,
though children’s hands approach
and nibble them like fish,
the way they do the flesh of the old.

Arrows shot in slow motion at stability,
palms like shovel-blades, without them
those arks of Europeans couldn’t have stopped
and steadied themslves for the decisive
stride ashore (the strain it was
told in one stock bent at right-angles,
sail-power as a circus strong man).

Fabulous bones from the throat
of famous motion, amongst them
you notice your own free breath,
lifting and falling like the swell,
drift cautiously as if that fearsome weight
might jerk you to a dislocating halt;
get a vision of these as moments
of an iron acrobat’s tumbling pass.

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