Oystercatcher Press

 Nigel Wheale:
 The Six Strides of Freyfaxi

Nigel Wheale cover picture

£5.00 A5 16pp. ISBN: 978-1-905885-39-8.


                                    Fulmar Egg


Deft cliff-hanger, relative newcomer,

pawky stiff-winged tube-noser,

you are sparing of cries,

not much of a singer,

more a croaky chuckling cackle

as you hit me dead in the eye

with a fragrant squirt-stream of fish guts.


Mallymack, sea-maa, sea-dustbin,

who can live a human span,

but now nine-tenths replete

with plastic strands and shards,

mermaid’s tears of resin

from the product-laden Firth.


You close mate-guarded

this only, tapered egg,

written in a single day,

now rocking gently on the blank cliff face.

Within, a new bird-dot forms inwith the sun yoke,

hanging in clear protein on twisting ropes of chalazae.


Endless curve of shellsphere,

strengths to be taken in frail colour.

How did you sign this womb of cryptic tints,

who writes this fluent shell script,

your gull’s hymn to the ovular bird therein?


In Tsinghua an old man

is washing pollution

from the fine granite steps

that climb to Party Headquarters.


He moulds his mop to a brush point

and signs his labour secretly

with three lines of characters,

a mop calligraphy writ in water


That will evaporate before

the morning operatives arrive,

this writing as covert, fragile and muted

as blank signs on eggshell.