The Overhaul

Look – it’s the Lively,
hauled out above the tideline
up on a trailer with two
flat tyres. What –

14 foot? Clinker-built
and chained by the stern
to a pile of granite blocks,
but with the bow

still pointed westward
down the long voe,
down toward the ocean,
where the business is.

Inland from the shore
a road runs, for the crofts
scattered on the hill
where washing flaps,

and the school bus calls
and once a week or so
the mobile library;
but see how this

duck-egg green keel’s
all salt-weathered,
how the stem, taller
– like a film star –

than you’d imagine,
is raked to hold steady
if a swell picks up
and everyone gets scared . . .

No, it can’t be easy,
when the only spray to touch
your boards all summer
is flowers of scentless mayweed;

when little wavelets leap
less than a stone’s throw
with your good name
written all over them –

but hey, Lively,
it’s a time-of-life thing,
it’s a waiting game –
patience, patience.

from The Overhaul (Picador, 20012), © Kathleen Jamie 20012, used by permission of the author and Macmillan Publishers.

Kathleen Jamie in the Poetry Store

The free tracks you can enjoy in the Poetry Archive are a selection of a poet’s work. Our catalogue store includes many more recordings which you can download to your device.