edging the lawn with worn long-handled shears
just above sea level        it's hard to understand why maps don't tally
with what we're walking up & down on
or why what's in the papers doesn't chime with anyone we know
& why of two rhubarb plants
the first should unfurl & rise like a magic Arabian tent
all high red poles & voluminous masses of cool green shade
whispering spices                    while the second is barely alive
should we dig it up & replace it with ginger & a few ears of wheat?
                            measuring the garden for new fencing
the figures change strangely depending
on which end I start from –
it's impossible to get your bearings      futile & indispensible to try
I wonder if Heine's last note ever got to Camille?
              a perfect fix will give only an impossible point
to dance upon: a cocked hat at least gives a small
badly-prepared triangle to cultivate & live in
where a robin flits through a white poplar
& an arpeggio of goldfinches veers into the birches
              as for courses to steer
what with all these uncertainties of tidal stream & weather
boat speed & appetite                      cross track error
horizontal dilution of recision                  still          steer we do
              I'd even choose rope not for its qualities of strength
knot & give        but with reference to our shared cack-handedness:
polypropylene makes a poor enough rope
but at least it floats when you misjudge & drop it
down the crack between some country or other
& the side of your dilapidated boat –
& it'll still stop the goat going off-piste for a go at
the artichokes         herb garden         or other goat
tonight I'd rather navigate like the Polynesians once did
imagining position from the sway
& underlying tendency of the waves
while assembling lyric maps which trace the shapes
made by the clearest of these clear stars
                                                  the Plough upended on the Wash
                                Scorpius gradually wheeling past the back garden
using bits of driftwood        seaweed     flotsam     finger marks
reflecting on a change in the weather & unusual sea level
Robert Schumann on the radio paints in some extra sand-banks
for the oystercatchers & seals       & Heine's Fly
              I often put in yellow instead of blue
& recall Buy Ballot's Law:
the low pressure area should be on your left
if you stand with your back to the wind
the house martins fussed & keened & banked all evening
till the light slid off the edges of the sea & land
              in the hours after dark you can feel them
                  tucked up under the eaves of the house
                                     you can feel them breathing
as the tide quietly rocks towards the moon they're watching

Norfolk 10th/11th June