The Feet

for Catherine

You showed me my twin’s feet when he was dead,
Your sailor-husband’s feet, your engineers’ – how
Cold they felt, how handsome ankle and toe,
Bone-shapes out of our gloomy womb-tangle –
A god’s immortal feet, I’ll dare to think,
When we scatter his ashes in the North Sea
Off the windy pier at Whitburn Village –
Poseidon, say, who drives his chariot’s bronze-
Hoofed horses so headlong over the waves
All the sea-creatures know who it must be
And the sea parts with a kind of happiness
And the axle doesn’t even get wet.

from The Stairwell (Cape, 2014), Michael Longley 2014, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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