Cornwall. He collected, categorised, recorded everything
offered up by the sea – lobster pots, lobster pot tags, buoys,
flotsam and jetsam from across the Atlantic, even seed pods
from the Amazon. He said the sea fortold what was to be:
the poetry of fishing is scattered along the strand line:
butts, bongos, gate hooks, lantys, soft eyes,
sea purse, sea coconut, sea pea, star nut palm, wood rose
there is order in the chaos, the sea is telling you something
something quite important, but you never quite
find out what it is…
Patiently he notes every detail, dead fish, dolphin, whale –
the count of different species over the years tells of the shift
of ocean currents, the realities of climate change,
message in a bottle, broken road sign, timber – oak, Douglas Fir.
Tiny coincidences gathering at the sea’s edge. Puzzle.
He died just after making a film with his wife, Jane –
The Wrecking Season. Deep in the thunder of the sea
the turning of storms, among the rocks and coves
he found connections, contacted people across
four thousand miles of ocean, linking to their moment.
It tugs at my centre, this reckless belief in the significance
of things washed up on the shore. The art of the collected
reminds me of the feel of driftwood in my Uncle’s hands
how it could be shaped, saved, turned into treasure
simply by following its curve through his eye, the grain
reflected in the eyes of his wife, brother, sister, children.