Things Take a Tern


Rotterdam port tour:
there’s a lot of containers,
I mean – a lot!

After 30 hours traveling,
with jetlag nerves
jumping mental
at metal monsters
mumbling along
the tracks
(I didn’t even know that
double-decker trains existed),
I’m on a ship touring the
historic port.
Did I say there are a lot of containers?

Then flying alongside,
distinct angular wing,
almost a boomerang:
a tern.
The sun is too bright to
see the head colouring,
but I imagine a black cap.

Then comes the moment,
a pause, for (my) breath,
wings folded before
the plunge.

Just a day’s fishing for him,
a majestic, daring display to me.

Now, a smile is on my face,
I don’t know why the tour
thinks I’m interested in
paper roll exports of a
company formed in the 1960s,
but I smile…
…and a grebe floats by.


4 thoughts on “Things Take a Tern

  1. Love all the alliteration and imagery. And isn’t it astonishing that we are so anthropocentric that we completely ignore all that is not human or human-made? Beautiful poem, Rowan.

  2. A very vivid description! An old friend of mine has a show in Rotterdam right now at the Submarine Pier – huge paintings – if you see, let me know (Chris Martin). k.

    • Unfortunately, your comment came through on my last day, else I would have sort his work out, as I was looking for art to view in between conference sessions.

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