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What's the Use of Myth?

Where there should be a man
sown in seal's skin, crowned
with bone from a sea king's cave,
his features inked with nymph spell,
his fist round a silver cup of storm and thunder,
his feet on tricks to charm an otter to the grave,
his eyes bound with dew, his mouth stuffed
with mermaid song, his ears full of bird call
at the blooded edge of dawn, as men haul him
to the torn cliff and the patience of the waves ...

where these should be, there's me,
turning the litter of a tideline over:
a length of nylon rope, plastic bottles,
one broken toy, a lone shoe's laceless eyes
bright among weed gobs and sea-worn bits,
the shards of crab and mussel shell,
the stinking ruin of a fish, this sea's dull
recession where indifferent gulls wade
silent, beyond my halting progress
through the thin, grey fade of evening.

Craig Dobson

Poetry Ireland Review

Issue 123

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