Home » Issues & Poems » Issue Twenty One » SOMETHING TOLSTOY SAID ABOUT GOLD


Ric Hool


Tide surge before storm

crooning spindrift-scalped crests

            wave-song on bladderwrack



Troy’s northern outpost

            crumbles before Embleton

No horse only neighing turbulence though ruined stone


Thoughts are captured        mind set free

A feather on discovery’s trigger


I am here to wash coal


A fisherman on a salt road knows

eye-true is not truth

The eye no god

                        but maker of many goddesses


            Here water’s rub on land almost recent

upon furnace-fried dolerite etched in brachiopods

                        compressed crinoids and unknowable time





The day is young

A baby in pain

The world shrinks around this


I am here to wash coal

that stokes a fire

today              everyday

blistered from a bitter sea its burning

a pulse of place upon the soul


To leave yet never leave

                        a mark of impact


A meteor crater of wonder

its magnitude enlarged       those

dolerite fossils beneath a hand lens


Viewed at ground level

Marram is bamboo

nearby rock Fuji


The Tokaido Road finds its way

to northern England


Not far a hostelry

mixes music and food

                        but no geisha


Gannets stab the sea

repeatedly                 folding wings

an instant before

            They are eyes for fishermen


Cowboy dolphins herd a shoal

yip yip yip heading off mavericks



On the pub table a butterflied-herring

arrives from Craster

            unrecognised                        kippered

                        its silver lessened to bronze

                        by alchemy                It tastes good

                        and turns the stomach



After food conversation rests

                                    over untidy plates


It’s down to how things are heard

            Twist & Shout


The way language works its broad-based ziggurat

stepped in location’s voice

            utters land and whispers weather



a lowing dairyman 

            gurgling river-man

                                    a clattering spanner-man

The tune comes through muscle-strong

in rolled-up sleeves of working words



Bright morning draws moodily on afternoon

                        tugging night


There is brattle over a gurelly sea

A sharp wind yanks the turned tide over carrs

swirling water into tight barrels


Darkness crashes Dunstanburgh’s walls

            I am here to wash coal



The day is young

A baby in pain

The world shrinks around this

Join our mailing list

Your email: