The Harbour & The Plough

Alice Gribbin

A uniform, a single suit.
Is it suitable, being bound up
in that match of only? Dare show the seam.
How matter harbours in the slit. In showing it speaks itself too taut
          to go beyond the impasse of declension.
There is no machinery, are      no angels

Only intent and human. I get to this quickly



Demand on terra firma.
I am concerned here with maintenance.
Coming to an impasse one must pick up the thought, methodically,
          and watch dancers for a short time 
only to find one’s suitor in feeling then dance alone around the mountain.
Be uniformed of the emergency


Too often are units calculated, eked out, untethered,
uncushioned as one must be on the cold side
of information. This cargo, passing now, is the best kind: greatly
          it risks leaking
like laughter
So lies the clout of portability to ride.
Be unbothered by reigns of compliments, wear them thick and fast
Be suited of—



I tried a dozen configurations. The mountainside didn’t convince me. The word I’d harboured on tumbled down it.


When a life
lived behind
glass does
not match its

When height to man
with his
claims over men,
not his paean to
the aerial,
the flighted


Begin then with harbour

An idea moored and brooding. Think on the time wasted feeling the sea in you: time feeling the sea in you: the poundings you’ve taken: the pleasures abided fleeing the sea: intentions you harboured: the nights made strangely usual: idleness suited fleeing the sea: the deep crash of personality or single machine of stasis in you. Navigable now, the word awakens


Who looked
                               upon the plough
and said
                               “this is what we do”
Who first    
                               held the thought
“we too”
                               “have a frame”
“and blades”
“we too cut”
                               “through foundations”
“turn them”
“to a purpose”
                                “the same fabric”
“or no purpose”



Our ploughing-on came
before it, will outlast it and the farms
and the farms
of the words, inviolable.


The word becomes
fertile in the wake
of action
tumbling, as us
it musses, will whittle
the earth to beds
where humans, later
putting their hands
to use in gesture
say “water once”
“was there and”
“a source that fed”


Sister of Hypermnestra, I rely on your pouring—
if solid, still depends on a core beneath
and there the awakening churn. Demands are milder now, yet never
          will I allow the moment go unrequited
I shall arrive into it, promote the negative wish to touch
as if the touch 
itself were vulnerable


Verbal leaps and lands as noun: I feel it (close) and (dock) I bother
          not with turning to see, instead ask
“does weather” “begin” “where the desert” “stops” “is it a matter of”
“maintenance” “think on what it is” “composed of”
Court the point of


yes, court ruin, stone for stone: be vulnerable in conception, yes:
make units of agony: heap them: go on shattering the eye: yes, circle
the mountain: poorly suited if so, yes: become the word, adamant:
digress as I, Latinate: make rivulets of constant:



with this propensity
to curl inside
the word, lounge
among its clods, make
form of seam, do
not drowsy allow
the moment go
unrequited. Harbour it
and alight.
A handsome sailor is always entering