Moonscape at Mumbles Bay

All at fault; and yet I tried to soothe the lines
carved into those hundred hungry faces,
ashen eyes lit by pain’s fire purified by something I can never own;
though I am grim I am not determined,
as I am utterly determined by momentums not my own.

I cannot defy gravity however much I might wish it.
And neither did I ask to wield such unwieldy forces:
Time and tide are not mine alone,
as neither is my light my own,
but dull mimic of the omnipotent, honeyed sun.

And though I poured forth a tepid, milky balm
I could not unknot the aching ropes of their multitudinous arms,
nor smooth the pale faces that coldly reflect my own,
some deeply cratered, others hooded bone.
Worst I could not calm the wild water’s wave,
as my own midnight children grew feral beyond my reach.

White and old and alone in the black sky,
the blanketing stars only ornament and anyway fixed,
there is no one to hold me as the women of Mumbles Bay held each other so.
And so I hide my ravaged face and weep,
as the cries of the widowed women echo.


Caitlin Jenkins
BSc (Hons) Psychology

Caitlin’s many favourite poets include GM Hopkins and TS Elliot. Moonscape is inspired by the stories of the Mumbles Lifeboat Disasters of 1883/1903 and the women of Mumbles Head. This poem is written from the moon’s perspective.

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