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W. Fraser Sandercombe is a Canadian writer who has contributed to a number of small press magazines, including Weirdbook and Haunts. Two of his books have been published so far: Nothing Gold Can Stay, a wildlife history, and The Man Who Stole the Colours of Life, a children's fantasy.


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All materials copyright 1996-1998 by their respective creators. No stories, articles, poems or images from this webzine may be posted or published without the written consent of their creator(s).

Home From The Sea

by W. Fraser Sandercombe

    A cryptblack, batblack night along the quay.
    The boats all groan and creak along the docks,
    grumbling to each other in secret seagoing voices.
    I listen as the dew falls, listen as the ghosts
    of long gone hangmen creep along the waterfront,
    while the sleeping village rolls away into the hills,
    all the windows darkened, eyes turned away.

    Ratclaws whisper on the thick mooring ropes while
    old bones rattle along the weathered boards.
    Floating birds ruffle their feathers,
    squawking softly as the breeze begins to shift.
    The sizzling dark, the hissing waves,
    the lonesome moan of a distant, hidden foghorn.
    A wooden thump, a soft footstep.
    A wooden thump, a soft footfall,
    another ghost along the ancient quay where
    fish scales glisten and sparkle in the moonlight
    as the old and timeless dreams gather for Autumn Eve.

    I can feel the gathering, thick as I walk the night, my
    thoughts lost in images of a brassbound wife in her bed alone,
    of my rumrunning, sealoving, freebooting yesterdays,
    of my beached and empty, endless tortured tomorrows.
    An impossible canvas sail crackle-snaps in the night.
    A wooden thump, a soft footstep, the nasty croak of a

    blind green parrot.
    A scent of rum, the groan of old tarred timbers.
    A clash of cutlass blades, sparks streak out across the bay,
    heating the heady scents of ozone and fish and salty air.
    I want to run, I want to stay, I laugh and turn my face
    to the moon as a dark brigantine shadows through the light.
    A wooden thump, a soft footfall, while I wait with a
    welcoming grin.