Compass-Point Lullabies for Emily

by Magnus Dixon

Someone re-threads a fishing rod by torchlight
then re-beads the line with Ugie droplets.
Later he reels in floundering silver–
wraps it in newspaper then walks homewards.
Waves crack their knuckles on shadowed sea-walls
and suck their teeth through rust-ribbed lobsterpots.
At the sailing club, sails dry into the night.
A woman closes shutters like oak eyelids.
Instead of milk-pails, men pile up oil-drums
to blot the moon.  Their hearts tick in time to
the spattering pipelines and rain on hard-hats.
They shine torches on skeins instead of helicopters.
Combine harvesters hum into the night–
spitting stems in wake across rutted earth.
Sparrows chorus with the farmer’s whistles.
They guide him home, flitting between branches.