The Cockatrice's Egg

Poetry by Robert Leach - (to see the full work, purchase the book)

The Mermaid and the Great Silkie


I am watching an extremely beautiful woman,
Dark hair about her shoulders, walk
Down the beach towards the sea.
She paddles into the water, the waves
Seem to embrace her and she swims
Smoothly, swiftly, her head steady,
With barely a ripple, hardly a bubble.
Perhaps she is a mermaid
From an old Shetland story.


She turns gracefully, and there
In front of her – a dog seal. He’s
Discombobulated.
The mermaid carefully, gently,
Swims towards him. For a moment
The great silkie simply stares,
Then he dips his head, a dark shadow
In the water twists, disappears,
And the bay is all the mermaid’s.

A Long-Legged Man


A long-legged man
Up from the water’s edge
Is cuddling strange pebbles
He’s gathered. Sunlight
Pirouettes on his bald head.

Shetland


Silvery thinness of the curlew’s cry,
Rocks like the teeth of a broken hacksaw
Emerging from the water. This is
The world’s edge.

The Weasel


Topography of green
Tussocks and hillocks, mounds, gullies,
Jumbling, rippling
Away to the edgy, silver-speckled sea.
The world –
Secret, silent. Just
A distant curlew's cry, perhaps,
To tickle the inscrutable afternoon,


Till a lean, orangey shape,
Limber, bendy,
Scuttles across an unnoticed barren patch
To a wood-slatted fence, a blockage.
It squirms, noses
For an opening, squiggles through


And the nubbly landscape
Is again
Vacant, mute.