New Wave Canute
He says that money is no object
and all the breached defences
can be rebuilt immediately.
He is not on the seashore
running into a monstrous wind
with laughing children who
are pushed back by a gale
that causes grown-ups to doubt
their ability to stay upright.
He is not taking tea in the kitchen
with a woman who is glad
she still has electricity.
‘But it’s hardly ideal’ she says
as the toxic water laps at the ankles
of her wellington boots.
He is speaking from a dry location.
Not a hair out of place, and nothing,
thus far, has shaken his belief
in this force called money
that he can wield in the face
of weather systems:
that can hold at bay
every destructive thing,
should he so wish.
Hear the song of the arctic flood.
Look for them, a pod of narwhals
tusks raised in the open water,
before they submerge again
to places least known in the universe.
Mostly imaginary creatures
these sea unicorns, whose
appearance is a gift, whose
lives are a mystery – who
surely have magical properties.
An unfathomable defence against death
– is that what magic is?
You may see them
in your mind’s eye, in stories,
in photographs by determined
explorers who always speak
about the wonder of the experience,
the sense that all is well –
or even better than expected.
All of that is held in those rare sightings;
nothing more. They move on.
Their tusks, in reality, are teeth
and hollow as horns that
may, in fact, serve to amplify
the music they bring to their cold oceans.
But coming to a point – slender as a bayonet –
sharp like every archetypal spear,
they speak of enemy.
The world is a dangerous place
if you carry a gun.