The Whales



    Any day now, they will rise again
    through their cauldron of green bubbles –
    the gulls lifting off and banking
    before the black humps of their backs
    slice through the surface of the waves
    or huge pink mouths fling open to the sky
    water streaming from their jaws
    and the nobbles of their prehistoric heads.

    Count the dark arcs of their spines
    one, two, three of them, and the slow-motion
    upward flick of their tails, lifted in greeting
    or farewell, in grace with the ocean, moving
    slowly through twin elements of water and time,
    rising like happiness, when you least expect it to return.

    Maggie Butt’s fifth poetry collection, Degrees of Twilight, was published by The London Magazine Editions in July 2015. Previous collections: Lipstick, petite, Ally Pally Prison Camp, Sancti Clandestini – Undercover Saints. Maggie is an ex journalist and BBC TV producer, now Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Middlesex University, and soon to be Royal Literary Fund Fellow in Kent.