Sea-Town

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Rain came squalling and busy-bodied,
great gossip clambering on the roof,
fish-wife in the broken mouth of winter.
We spoke of mercury and sea-ports, the reek
of fishing boats nudging our imagination,
spider-work of spars and nets, winches
creaking, men engulfed in yellow jackets,
hats, rubber-booted among silver: the fish
spilling gloss-eyed from the holds,
fish slapping on the deck. The clouds, dark
as mullet, came rolling again on the docks,
caught us like drunkards, to shout and jump,
walloped by season, the running age of thunder
on winter’s tongue, water gushing in the open
gutter of laterite and cement, gurgling down
into the echoing cisterns of the town. Then all
cleared suddenly, was sheet-dazzling by the boats
as though the fishermen cleaning snapper
had accidently sloshed the sun in their buckets
till the fish and the wet boards
rang with light.

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