Thursday, 22 October 2009

Horizons near

The following poem is dedicated to the memory of Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) most famously known as the author of Treasure Island. The Tusitala° spent the last 5 years of his life in Western Samoa. When he died he was carried to the top of a mountain and laid to rest. His near horizon the Pacific Ocean. His far horizon - who knows? Astronomers tell us that 96% of our 13.7 billion years Universe consists of invisible dark matter.

Stevenson's grandfather invented the flashing light used in lighthouses and was himself involved in the design and building of no less than 27 lighthouses. A series of lighthouse pictures will appear at the foot of the Poet in Residence pages for the next few weeks.

Horizons near

and far
surround my bones

no matter
where and how I move
or go
and also where
and how I stay

too silent

still in truth

or lie.

In and of the centre
my levered being moves

and always
the days and nights

that are never for the time

And yet
I know the other

flying on the dark ship's black
and billowed sail;

light before the dawn
the death head's
white and outward
flying face.

The horizon crossed

now serves
to give
my levered moving

°the story teller


  1. Like the unease caused by reflecting on the ever-distant (by definition) horizon!

    Thanks for your coppicing comment. I whittled away at it and came up with a post :)

  2. John, Thanks. By the way, I didn't know until researching this poem that RLS's grandfather invented the flashing light used in lighthouses.

  3. Dominic,
    You caught what I was trying to do. Many thanks.
    RLS has an almost boundless Pacific horizon, his body having been carried to the top of the Western Samoan mountains to its resting place by 60 natives. Glad the coppicing comment was of some use ;>)

  4. Oh yes Poet - you are back with a vengeance - I have missed your words.
    Pamela Stephenson (wife of Billy Connolly) wrote an interesting book about sailing through the islands and following in the footsteps of RLS. Have you read it?

    I do wish I could get your brevity with words - however hard I try my words seem to rush out - you are so sparse with them and it works so well.

  5. Weaver, thanks for the comment. One of the reasons I wrote the RLS poem was because I had recently read your brilliant poem about Death. As for word count, like a family butcher I tend to trim away the fat. But sometimes I simply go crazy with the cleaver and end up with nothing!


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