Poem by F.G. Mulkey: “Shore Leave”

Winning Writers subscriber F.G. Mulkey recently shared the good news of his poetry publication with us, and has also given me permission to reprint this poem on the blog. “Shore Leave” was published in the inaugural issue (Summer 2012) of Clockhouse Review, the literary journal of Goddard College.

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Shore Leave
by F.G. Mulkey

The nightingales are sobbing in
the orchards of our mothers,
And hearts that we broke long ago
have long been breaking others.

–W.H. Auden

someone stands at the end of a pier.
knowing that somebody is out there somewhere;
on the edge of a late night yellow fog,
sheltering waves with only the sound below
where vows were once scratched in wet sand,
captured then cleansed by tidal pools on the mend:

it is law like love which governs
each sailor’s tale, splashed in mermaid luck,
as the lighthouse protects on lucent waves
in persistent sweeps, keeper of a coastline warning,
flashing the way home protecting a rocky doom,
safe passages from temptation, forward-back again.
it is love like law
that demands drowning time with memories,
when breezes fueled flight of driftwood sparks,
and the smell from smoke and salt dazzled senses
and imperfection was abandoned by sand and foam,
forgotten in perfect paradise, keeping a lover
alone with a calendar, page after page.
distant oil rigs dagger skyline of gray on gray,
a bed turned down and without body warm,
morning washes bayou rain uphill, porch lights expect
the tumble home and routines will be routinely done.

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