sabres at patterson river

a flotilla of flat-bottomed sabres
red triangled teeth atop the white of a single sail
forty strong and tacking as a shoal         tightly bunched
with a solitary straggler to the rear
and one that is running hard to port and pointed
at the piece of flour-soft yellow sand
marked out as my personal territory by a towel and a book
and the clear blue overlay of cloudless sky


I have waited these three slow-passing months
of damp and lukewarm pseudo-summer
for such a day of unambiguous stinging heat
and the salt water is already autumn sharp
in a rapid-cooling contrast to the dry temperature
concentrated inches above the asphalt of a baking carpark
and the bleached loose grains that lie above water level
the slap of small-wave motion –
enough to force the awkwardness of balance on tip-toes
with each rise in depth towards the nethers –
is worth endurance for the clean freshness
of first submersion and aquatic acclimatisation


the wind is on the rise         the water shows a small white-headed chop
and is less attractive for the uncommitted
sabre teeth are sentinel poles and singing metal lines
pulled up before the club-rooms and above the high-water mark
various parties are packing up and going home
despite the forty five degrees of sun that still remains before curtain fall
on this Patterson River of powdered beach         gulls
and boats navigating the river-mouth channel in search of a berth
a broken trail of bright and silver shivers in their wake
reflects the last remnants of a Sunday on the bay

© Frank Prem, 2002


9 thoughts on “sabres at patterson river

  1. Pingback: Screenwriter/Scriptwriter Interview Q&A – Shane Weisfeld – “Freezer” starring Dylan McDermott, Yuliya Snigir & Peter Facinelli (Action/Crime Thriller Film) | toofulltowrite (I've started so I'll finish)

  2. I love the whole thing but especially,
    “enough to force the awkwardness of balance on tip-toes
    with each rise in depth towards the nethers –
    is worth endurance for the clean freshness
    of first submersion and aquatic acclimatisation”
    A day at the water ❤

    Liked by 1 person

      • Ack why did you move away from the water? Do you talk about it in your book? Until 2011 I lived within easy biking distance to two lakes, one smaller inland and the other, Lake Michigan. I still live a few miles from Lake Michigan now, but the road it takes to get there is worth your life on a bike. I seldom go the lake anymore and that’s a real pity 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      • Just different phases of my life, msj. I have a coupl eof nice lakes here, and my part of the world is very pretty, too. Just different places.

        The STK book only travels until leaving the small town to go to the city (and the beaches). I have another set that features the water there – also a memoir – but sad ending, and not really about the water. Search the site for memoir of a dog if you want to chase it down. There is an introduction that should let you navigate post to post (if you really want to, don’t feel obliged).

        Actually, here it is:

        Liked by 1 person

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