After the chat shows and the bulletins,
the forecasts and the late reviews
I trim the oil-lamp, clear a space
and take one final look across the straits.
I came here to escape a darkening world.
Why should I listen to its news?
The mainland is a purple smudge;
the sea so shallow and so calm
you'd think that you could walk across
instead of waiting for the week it takes
before the ferry makes the harbour mouth
bringing cards and letters, word from home.
There's nothing but a mile
of dry-stone walls and unrelenting rain
between this cottage and the nearest farm
hidden by the intervening ridge.
Suspended here, the moment waits
still stranded in another century
when news was as fast as a gasping horse
and last year's revolution still to come.
Described as 'a heroic figure in Yorkshire poetry' (Points North Review) Ian Parks was one of the Poetry Society New Poets in 1996. Poems appear in Poetry Review, Stand, The Observer, The Liberal, The Independent on Sunday, Poetry (Chicago) and have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3. His collections include Shell Island (2006), The Cage (2008), The Landing Stage (2010) and Love Poems 1979-2009. The Exile's House is forthcoming from Waterloo Press.