Poem: The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her Last Berth to be broken up, 1838

The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her Last Berth to be broken up, 1838

after Turner

I folded myself into the cool side of the duvet;
you tugged it under your legs. Teach me
about art
, I said. In that September heat,
my voice’s waterfall tumbled and broke.
It struck me then how your skin
was tinged with sickness, how your hair
hung lank, a wind-dropped sail, and your eyes
looked slightly left of my face. You said: Turner
maybe used too much yellow, and nobody knows
if he was radical in his approach to colour
or partially blind – his vision stained
to antique maps, until everything looked
like a work of art.
Which brings this to what
you taught me:             how to fall apart.


The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her Last Berth to be broken up, 1838‘ was first published in The Compass

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