The Green and Sand Islands

You can lose yourself on these islands
in bright hours of day
green as hallucination
where water falls through land and mirror-sky
and an egret watches like a moral.

Here an enchanted fisherman washed up,
ravished the sunlit flowers,
stole the sun’s gold
and filled his shoes with it,
tried to run away with full pockets

but was lured back by the beauty
of the Fay Queen’s cloak,
sewn from feathery wings.
In its glamoury she danced him
to skin and bone. He washed up a cold wet fish.

Where her queendom extended
stretching out in green
with the treachery of quicksand
a solitary egret remains,
cormorants, gulls and a hooded crow,

lapwings whose slanting cries
slide up and down
with fish bones on translucent seas.
You can lose yourself on these islands
in bright hours of day.

*Poem loosely based on ‘The Enchanted Fisherman’ by James Bowker from The Goblin Tales of Lancashire (1878), which is set on the River Kent. You can read it here.

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2 thoughts on “The Green and Sand Islands

  1. Love the folkloric elements and the ironic opening and closing line–that one can literally lose themselves in this enchantedly dangerous place, as the poor fisherman did.

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