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Prized and published by Barnet Borough Arts 2006


Lament for an illegal immigrant


No moon, but fishermen

are used to that and the seaís chanting,

the descant of the nets. The decks

silvered with sea verses,

the minims and trebles of fish

hushed into songbooks of ice.


Something didnít sing, humped

in the net, thudding onto the deck.

Its ears heard no notes, its eyes

were blind to the men standing round,

its throat choked with words

that no-one would hear.


They let the sly octopus

sidle to the shipís side, forgot to stop

the arch and leap of bream.

The sea moaned, the fish

slipped out of tune, the kittiwakes

hurled screeches like broken strings.


The men unfroze, thumped

what didnít sing, what was lost for words,

over the hissing deck. Tipped what had

no hope, had never had a hope,

back to the sea. No

word, no hymn, no prayer.


But the rags of its clothes cried. The sea

beat its fists on the boat. And the wind got up

and howled till dawn.


Gabriel Griffin


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poetry favourites:
poetry on the lake

and in the shop ...
Poetry on the Lake anthologies:
2001, 2003, 2005
& 2006

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