Tuesday, May 14, 2013


I've always found the shipping news to be soothing -- echoing from the radio in my father's bedroom in the middle of the night -- as is illustrated in this beautiful poem by Carol Ann Duffy (from New Selected Poems 1984-2004):

Some days, although we cannot pray, a prayer
utters itself. So a woman will lift
her head from the sieve of her hands and stare
at the minims sung by a tree, a sudden gift.

Some nights, although we are faithless, the truth
enters our hearts, that small familiar pain;
then a man will stand stock-still, hearing his youth
in the distant Latin chanting of a train.

Pray for us now. Grade 1 piano scales
console the lodger looking out across
a Midlands town. Then dusk, and someone calls
a child's name as though they named their loss.

Darkness outside. Inside the radio's prayer -
Rockall. Malin. Dogger. Finisterre*.

-- Carol Ann Duffy

*Finesterre has been replaced by the less interesting-sounding Fitzroy. More here.


That's Not My Age said...

That's a lovely poem - and I bought that print for my brother who lives in New York!

angie said...

a stunning poem, thanks for sharing.

MerrilyRow said...

Gorgeous longing.

Marcheline said...

That reminds me of the housekeeper in "As Time Goes By", who always kept up with the shipping reports. We don't have those over here in NY (at least not commonly known or accessible on the radio) so it seems a romantic British thing to us.

Reads4Children said...

Often go to sleep listening to the shipping forecast . . . z-z-z-z-z

ganching said...

I love that poem and I loved visiting Finisterre ast weekend.