Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

I'm on an Island


Iolanda Reef, Ras Muhammad Nature Park: photo by Mikhail Rogov, 2006

Do not try to adopt me
I am not a pigmy soothed
Boy or baby hitchhiker saint

What is wrong suddenly
Is that I swallow a cold
Blast of air, I mean fright

Spill coffee on my book
And hear the kinks
In the great universe

The warp in the coffin
Phantom men fly out of
Anywhere in this world


Anonymous said...

For me, a crazy soul searching to shipwreck, an island is the best refuge I could ever find.

And there are many kinds of islands where to take shelter as we look on tempests. This is one of my favourite.

TC said...


This poem dates back to a time when every day was a shipwreck and taking to the drifting boats was therefore a sort of modus operandi.

The time was 1965, the place was a little town on the English coast of the North Sea, the song was by Ray Davies and the Kinks. It said almost everything I wanted to say about how it felt to be alive at the time.

I'm on an Island

The final line of the poem plays off a phrase by another of my touchstone writers of that period, the French poet Arthur Rimbaud:

N'importe où au dehors de ce monde

TC said...


In case that taste of the Kinks makes you wish to see them performing live at that time, here's another of their wonderful songs of the period:

Tired of Waiting

And while I'm at the business of unfolding the little secrets of this post...

The map is one of many maps of imaginary islands contained in the series of "voyages extraordinaires" of Jules Verne.

In Deux Ans en vacances he relates the adventures of a group of schoolboys stranded on Chairman Island, a deserted isle in the South Pacific. His object was to create a Robinson Crusoe-esque environment for children, to show their ingenuity and courage when forced to develop survival skills in an extreme situation.

The later English novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding owes much to Verne's novel.

The All-Seeing Eye, Jr. said...

As a pale teenager many years ago, I studied the principle of flow by committing this poem to memory. Thanks.

TC said...

As a pale old man in this moment, I am studying this comment in hopes of rediscovering the key to the principle of flow.