Introducing the February 2009 Readers – 3. Alan Gay

Alan Gay studied Political Science and was formerly an Educational Advisor. He now lectures in Navigation and Meteorology and spends his summers with his wife Jancis sailing their yacht. His poetry is well placed in competitions, magazines and anthologies. His most recent poetry pamphlet is The Boy Who Came Ashore (Dreadful Night Press, 2006). He has twice been runner-up in the National Galleries of Scotland poetry competition. He lives with his family in East Lothian.

Gale Warning

Each oar-thrust spread arrowheads
that kept Gunsgreen House in line
with a crowd of gulls over the town cowp.

Behind the grunt of timbers,
bump of oars, we used the dying drum-roll
of combers on sand to judge distance off

then paused to drop our lines
poised on a copper dome made molten
by ripples thrown by the boat’s yaw.

All round the fleet swung metronome masts
in a calm that floated bird down.
Gulls swirled above our heads

leaking amber through corona-edged wings
feathers fine as lashes.
Again and again they dived across the sun,

shadows criss-crossing the deck
urgent, as if to warn us
to heed the signs:

the heel of a hand on the horizon
fingers reaching out
to crush the sun.

from The Boy Who Came Ashore, Dreadful Night Press, 2006

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