Four Poems for Marie Colvin, 1956-2012

Night Sail I dreamt of sailing Spray, grandfather Herrick’s  pilot cutter, from its berth in an old black-and-white on the kitchen wall, past the docks, the cranes and derricks,   not to some sluggish oil-rainbowed bight with pier and prom, in the lee of Gosport or Goring, not to the wild side of the Isle of Wight   or even a Winslow Homer Nassau mooring  but a secluded cove, where we’d ride at gentle anchor. . .  When I woke, you were still snoring   your smoker’s snore; I saw the cliff-face of a super-tanker  and, tied up to starboard, someone’s super-yacht, flying the flag of Panama, or Casablanca —   this was before the crash, not  that the crash would have bothered him — motionless behind its oil-rich haze, its hot    sides gleaming and all its tackle trim; a super-model, fresh from her shoot on the Ile Ste. Marguerite,  her neat mound cupped in a scrap of scrim,   supine on a sun-deck, inviting him eat — A drink first maybe? You choose. . . The air pulsed with the steady thresh and thrum, the beat   of her super-engines, super-screws,  and suddenly someone had drawn a veil, a pall of grape-dark clouds over the plaque for La Pérouse.    ~~~~ Storm-light on the marina, the harbour-wall, and on the sea beyond. The steady thresh and thrum. The little pastel boulevards, the palms and all   the quayside bustle and the prosperous hum of restaurants in that unfashionable resort, the vines and olive groves inland — a sunburst showed me how far I had come   from London, S.E.1 to the purples, mauves and deep blacks of that bay, the opalescent blues and blue-greens of a thousand inlets, creeks and coves   — but Spray was gone with

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