Few views surpass that of a host of brightly-coloured fishing boats bobbing on the incredible blue of our bay at full tide on a sunny summer morning.
I’m not a nautical man though I’ve briefly owned a boat and thoroughly enjoy the experience of being a passenger on small craft.
I have fond memories of trips on Lakes Garda and Orta and excursions on tiny charter boats off the Aeolian islands.
As a child I remember the excitement, when on holiday, of discovering an old broken-down hull and the thrill of crawling inside to explore.
Lying on my back, looking up through the splintered boards, it seemed as though the world had been reversed: the sky was a vast endless sea and the sun, a golden Leviathan cruising the deep.
This poem is about young love and explorations of one kind or another beneath an upturned boat.
BENEATH THE BOAT
Abandoned, out of reach of tides,
an upturned boat with broken bow
and faded paintwork on its sides,
drew them like supplicants, on foot
through dunes and beach-grass, to its shell.
To enter it, they ducked beneath
its beams of salted timber, knelt
in humid, damp, salt-smelling gloom.
Crouched there, they whispered promises
like spells to ward away the dark
and clung together, yes, yes, yes,
in sinful, prideful loveliness.
Alive, exalted, they became,
a complicated knot entwined
as lovers are in lovers’ beds,
as poems are in poets’ heads.