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Tuesday, 23 February 2010

After the Taking of the Ship


fifty chemises
scattered on the beach

an 8 powder horn
worn by an inferior chief
in a woman's stocking

a victory
feast ----------- but

the second temple was not like the first
the chief uttered in a nightmare


divide, inclose, oppose, rent

to show the hunters the way

the otter sprang ahead of them
its own

swimming presentness

This evening (I & II) (22.12.09): photos by Tom Raworth, 2009


Anonymous said...

wonderful tom. beach scatter. swimming presentness.

right now my daily visits to the waters here are very sustaining of my life. i especially gain great vision from the flotsam at waters edge. like it's a film unreeling. unrealing maybe. so many ghosts.

TC said...

Many thanks Zev

Who ever knows what will wash up on the tide, or whence that scatter came.

For a bit of historical context here, and a little more detail on the taking of the ship (see the poem called "The Ship Boston", at the bottom of the post), interested readers are referred to The Apparitional Canoe.

~otto~ said...


You are amazingly outstandingly prolific. And there is always something like this for me to take away: "its own / swimming presentness"

I knew not words like these, until now.


Beautiful to see/read this again this morning, left you note on link to poems in "The Apparitional Canoe." Meanwhile, something of a northwest coast look out there at this moment --- cloud n front of the ridge after a wet night, green glistening of leaves, birds calling (but no otters, though we're told they used to be around here. . . .


grey whiteness of fog against invisible
ridge, silhouette of leaves on branches
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

rest of matter, description
of physical phenomena

“between lines” for example,
divide, meaning point

grey-white of sky to the left of point,
silver of rain drop falling in channel

TC said...

Otto and Steve,

In reading you both I am always aware of the rebuilding of the temple.

Perhaps by now it it is not the second but the third or the fourth or the nth.

We do the best we can with the words we have.


Captain Kip, a friend of mine who's a SF Bay bar pilot (he brings ships in and out through the Golden Gate) has sent a great collection of paintings of classic old ships at sea, one of which is called "First Contact: Juan Perez and the Haida People, 19 July 1774. I think you'd like to see these pictures but I don't know how to get them to you. If you send an email I could frwrd to you (

TC said...

Many thanks Steve, I've now seen the slideshow and appreciated it very much. You might wish to post Captain Kip's link here (supposing he wouldn't mind?), so that others can view it?

(By the by, I notice one painting depicts Nelson's Agamemnon in the Mediterranean 1n 1796. There is a familiar here, UV Ray, who is a great Nelson man, and at present he has a wonderful Nelson poem up at his site, which can be reached directly via the marginal links column here.)

TC said...

Ay, Matey, here is Ray's Nelson poem.

(Something tells me Captain Kip might like it.)

leigh tuplin said...

I love this. From the choice and colour of type right up to the perfect balance between images and words. Works so well as a whole piece.

TC said...

Thanks very much Leigh, I do try to employ and balance all those several design elements. Never can be sure anyone's noticing till I hear, and when the word comes from someone with the mind of a poet and the eye of a draughtsman and painter, it's doubly appreciated.