Walrussey – Bex Hainsworth


For Wally

They say that you dozed off on an iceberg
and awoke on Irish shores, a Nordic visitor
without a horde, lonely wanderer, far
from your arctic home. Child of ice mountains,
you have ridden these Celtic currents
for months, travelling south, strange sun-pilgrim.
They say that you are lost, gorging yourself
on Cornish clams, preparing for a return journey,
but your continental visits are inscrutable.
Fingertip of Nuliayuk, you bask on beaches
like the discarded glove of an old god,
with your leathery hide, you are your own luggage.
Seafarer, you did not pack light for your odyssey.
Rolling in the snowflakes of the seafoam,
you nose boulders with grizzled whiskers,
snuggle into rocky crevices, coldsick, exiled,
missing the sounds and smells of the herd.
They say that you came to the harbour seeking company.
At night you bob among boats, mourning your lost brothers,
and watch the stars in a black sky, wishing for
a green, kelpy flicker of the aurora borealis.
Perhaps you are a scout from a melting world,
a tusked omen, disaster warning. Dear walrus
of wanderlust, moustachioed philosopher,
you are all of us, floating in an ocean-universe,
with no choice but to go on seeking.

Bex Hainsworth currently teaches in Leicester. She won the Collection HQ Prize as part of the East Riding Festival of Words and her poetry has been published following commendations in the Welsh Poetry, Ware Poets, Beaver Trust, and AUB Poetry competitions.

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