Monday, June 24, 2013

Poem of the Week ~ Traveller

Kids, there are a lot of really great poems out there on any given day, but when I read this one, posted in the Pantry on Father's Day, I swooped down on it as happily as an eagle on an especially tasty mussel. Traveller, by Rosemary Nissen-Wade, who writes at the aptly named The Passionate Crone, was written some years ago  to her step-dad, as he lay dying. 

I commented, on her site, that if I were doing I Wish I'd Written This, I would select her poem. And then went: wait a minute! I do Poem of the Week! So here it is, for your delectation.

My stepfather showed me oceans.

Now these midnight moments

call and flesh the ketch

from childhood,
dusted by moonlight,
perfectly still
at the end of the pier.

That New Year’s Eve we danced

in circles on the sand.

Sand and sea joined flat.
We might have walked straight out
with no dividing breath.

‘St. Elmo‘s Fire,’ he said

pointing, as flame without wind

blew in the bare poles
leaving them clean.
The moon’s long wake
pierced the horizon.

My stepfather gave me boats.

Tonight he’s dying,

I’m far from home.

Twin masts faintly gilded

rise perfectly still

through all my seas, all ships
poised ever since,
a track of light
widening across the water.
Gone by morning.

First published in Universe Cat (Melbourne, Pariah Press, 1985)

Also in Secret Leopard (Paris, Alyscamps Press, 2005)

Rosemary, I love that he gave you oceans and boats. And that you had "two dear fathers". Lucky girl! Thank you for your beautiful poem, and for your reliable and unflagging contribution to Poets United. I adore your purple  dress! And your irrepressible spirit!


  1. Perfect choice. I do love this poem. It never fails to move me.

  2. smiles. it is a great choice...and i am equally as excited for the pic of you the colors in your dress

  3. Rosemary, what a beautiful poem. Oceans and boats are indeed wonderful gifts. No child could ask for more. And yes, I love that picture too!!!!

  4. Love this poem! Rosemary is one of my favorites at Poets United.

  5. Many thanks, Sherry, for choosing 'Traveller'. And thanks to all of you for your kind comments. It's lovely to be chosen here.

    (I still have my gorgeous Goddess dress, but the purple-red hair is a thing of the past, lol.)

  6. So beautiful and very touching... this brought tears to my eyes. A lovely, lovely tribute.

  7. Gorgeous poem! So many wonderful lines...I am in awe!
    What a moving tribute~
    Wonderful pick!

  8. Great picture Rosemary! Your poem is so touching.
    A wonderful choice to share Sherry!

  9. Beautiful and touching.


  10. yes, a very lovely and moving poem.


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