Waves short poem

A train that once shipped sugar,
from field to port, rattled,
slow as a slave ship,
through Antiguan hills,
with elderly Americans,
old money, all pearl chokers
and Pringle sweaters,
filling the front seats
of the open top carriage, and I, relegated to the rear.

They didn’t notice fields of cane,
old plantation houses,
windmills and barracoons.
They were more interested
in the complementary rum punch
than the tour guide’s lilting patois
history of the island,
and missed entirely the irony
of the calypso choir singing
the songs of their grandfathers.

They didn’t see a flock of herons,
startled by the bone rattle of the train,
take flight from a tree,
white slashes in the sky;
and beyond that, by a broken windmill,
a boy playing barefoot,
who stopped kicking his football
made from rags, to wave,
a black hand against the blue.

I waved back,

and he skinned his teeth
smiling diamonds,
stars in the night.
I watched him wave
to every carriage
until the train had gone,
and wonder
if he noticed
only one person
waved back.

This poem is part of the Poetry Book Black Eyed Peace

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david atkinson

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Irish poet, who spent his early years in Belfast and now lives in Coleraine with his wife and 2 children. His first collection "Thomas" was published by Lapwing in 2005, and his second collection "Black Eyed Peace" has just been published. It is available as either a free eBook or in traditional printed format. His work has been widely published in magazines, anthologies, and on-line. His work has also been broadcast and published by the BBC and a number of his poems have achieved competition success. He has been involved with the Ballymoney Writers for over 15 years and has edited and published 3 collections of their work.
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Music, The Dance Of Waves

Music, The Dance Of Waves short poem

On the shore of soul she rises as a tide, The dried sand that is hot and burning, Lo it’s wet and now it’s turning, In the dreamy eyes of a smiling bride, She is now a rainbow of seven