Monday, 13 October 2008

anne frater

The Shelf

A map on the wall
following the course of each ship my father was on:
across the Atlantic;
through the Mediterranean
and down through the Suez Canal;
the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean,
the Pacific–
while we waited for his return
to the island in the Minch.

A doll for me from each country he visited,
sitting on the shelf like an invitation
to countries which I only saw
in an imagination quickened by his stories.

The Spanish dancers
frozen in a Flamenco reel;
a gaucho from Argentina on his black horse
sitting as he has done
for over twenty years;
two old ladies from Japan
the worse for age and careless handling
(although there is still one beautiful one-
her face white, her lips red),
the ones from Korea
brightly coloured in a glass box.

The world in a corner
of a small corner of the world,
images which set my feet to travelling
so that I could set my own memories
on the shelf.

trans by the author

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