Basil Bunting

Perche no spero *              
Now we’ve no hope of going back,
cutter, to that gray quay
where we moored twice and twice unwillingly
cast off our cables to put out at the slack
when the sea’s laugh was choked to a mutter
and the leach lifted hesitantly with a stutter
and sulky clack,

how desolate the swatchway’s look,
cutter, and the chart’s stained,
stiff, old, wrinkled and uncertain,
seeming to contradict the pilot book.
On naked banks a few birds strut
to watch the ebb sluice through a narrowing gut
loud as a brook.

Soon, while that northwest squall wrings out its cloud,
cutter, we’ll heave to
free of the sands and let the half moon do
as it pleases, hanging there in the port shrouds
like a riding light. We have no course to set,
only to drift too long, watch too glumly, and wait,

*But I do not expect

spoken =Chris Daniels