Bio Note: I went to school for eight years, from ages ten to eighteen, and later returned to teach in the small Welsh town of Milford Haven. In the 1950s it was a vibrant fishing port with the sort of robust, even fierce sense of community found in places where there are men working close together in strenuous physical environments. Later came oil refineries, then an economic decline, but I still feel in Milford that intense pride in locality.
A Café Window
Milford Haven, Wales
History hovers by a café window, facing out onto a still summer bay. Motes flicker in a sun of aeons. The story of the bay, the port, is of trawlers, shipping seas to Greenland, Finistere, salt air, the storms, the resolve, and back in the café, the trawler-wives, muttering a port’s anxiety, shaping a hive of close concern. The men are nowadays on building sites, on tills, in call centres, but older women here still shuffle spoons, still turn the shards of that history’s jetsam, with the buzz of their intimacy, the nearness of their murmur.
First published in Muddy River Poetry Review.
The smokestacks are drifting fumes and there’s bruise-coloured cloud this morning, but walking on Front Street, as he meets her, walking her grandma’s dog, is the new girl, Cindy Lightfoot, who says how pretty the fishing boats look, going out, and he’s irritated (knowing the town’s drifts and losses, his uncle having fished off the Harbour Queen for years, and knowing that only Spanish trawlers fish from Milford now) but he still thinks how strutting-sweet she walks and talks, so they fix the date, Segadelli’s on Saturday, and this becomes a pocket of love’s logic, under a bruised blue sky.
First published in Roundyhouse (Wales)
©2020 Robert Nisbet
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