Safe Haven

Hand holding pozible rewardsI’ve finally completed my pozible rewards. It took 3 months, partly because promising to write poems is completely different from actually writing them, and partly because two weeks after I came home I ended up in emergency surgery (all ok now). So. Rewards took a back seat. But now they’re done. And this is the final final reward, for my single $250 supporter, the very wonderful (not least because she’s my Aunt) Moiya Ford. As promised, this is a blog post for you, with your poem.

I asked my $100 and $250 supporters to give me three words to weave into a poem that I would write for them, but try as she might, the weren’t coming for Moiya. So I have written a poem, in some ways, with no words. No words given, but words that came. This is Safe Haven, for Moiya, with love, and thanks.

Safe Haven

On the double decker bus, in the jet lag
drown, I sit on a seat with a split.
It seeps old water, and wets me without caring.

I am plugged in to a headset, listening to a recording
of a woman telling me I must try Bacalhau, salted cod.
My jeans are wet from hip to knee.
I perch weirdly on one side, hoping that the sun
and wind will dry me.

Next she tells me the story of Fado, the song of the people,
and talks about roosters, and 550,000 people in the city,
and 3 million in Lisbon and surrounds (those seven hills).

Ulysses stopped here. And I wonder, what did he want?
How did he stop? What hill did his foot undo?

Jeans are still wet. I unplug. I move to a different seat.
This seat is split too. I lean again, so the water can’t seep.

St. Anthony, she says, is the patron saint of Lisbon. Lost object
finder, saviour of small things. She says the word Lisbon is thought
to be Venetian: safe haven, she thinks is its meaning.

We finish our circuit. She starts again. I unplug.
Jeans almost dry.

Later, I try salted cod. It is fleshy, fat, tongue squint.
Later, my jeans dry.
Later, jetlag leaves.
Later, at the Feira Da Ladra, I find small lost things
to take home to my children, my lover, my sister, my friends

a deep tinted photo of the initiate’s well in Sintra.
A plaster Mary holding her baby to be hung on a Coburg wall.
Three glazed fish and six glazed cicadas from the coast,
in blood red, and olive green, and sea blue.

Later, I buy a metal rooster brightly dotted to attach to my keys,
and when I drive up Sydney Road it plickers and plings.

Safe haven. Lost things. Dry jeans.

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6 responses to “Safe Haven

  1. Sharen Butrum

    So wonderful to be transported to Portugal to share your experiences. Beautiful!

  2. Hooray! So lovely to be able to take you there xx

  3. It’s been really inspiring to be involved in this project

  4. Love the poem. Lighthearted and heartfelt and lovely.

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