Down at Sea



Black herring-backs of clouds surge to the south.

Single-minded in purpose, they leap and boil,

Flicking cold rain, like ice, from fin and tail;

With insensate, misty eyes, a murderous shoal.


As morning broke, the dark girl stitched

Her man’s sleeves up, poured whey, mopped

His shirt and red beard, finely cropped,

And commended him to fate; left with her thoughts,


As she swam the shuttle in the kelp of warp.

He’s gone to sea, nets cast on ocean foam,

Just as he caught her heart once: she awaits

The culmination, swollen nets, triumphant return home.


She turns. Seated in his chair, one hand on each knee,

He stares, appealing, whitefaced, dribbling water and weeds;

Vanishes like spray. Scrambling, stool overturned, no heed,

She pelts down, wailing, to the cliffs, and knows what she will see.




Iona Bosvill is a British, West Country-based writer and heavy metal fan of Irish and Romani descent. Having roamed the South West and the Midlands of England for most of her youth, she eventually emigrated to South Korea for work, an unthinkable idea for her parents’ generation, experiencing and witnessing massive social changes there in a seaside city community. After a long weekend in Taiwan she fell in love with the tropical nation and sought a job there, becoming involved in activism and meeting a retired revolutionary, before coming back to England older and possibly wiser. Having attended Oxford on scholarships as an adult student, she is about as comfortable – or uncomfortable – in a ballgown as a band t shirt and a leather jacket.