This poem was a commission. The commission was to write a very small poem - six lines - each line to be put onto a giant banner, pulled behind a small plane over the town of Salisbury.

A Smell of Fish


A smell of fish filled the valley
and all the seagulls came inland.

Cats ran everywhere, sniffing.
Men checked the level of the sea.

Some could be heard hammering.
Churches filled to pray for wind.

from Selected Poems (Cape, 2002), © Matthew Sweeney 2002, used by permission of the author and The Random House Group Ltd.

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