Jal Nicholl

It takes no more than a day
for the crew to lay new tracks
to their long home;

as, at the end of an age,
floes shift, straits re-open, tides
renew their rhythm of old.

Coins long out of circulation,
quiet in earth's pocket, heads
they're glad to see the day—

swallow, pterodactyl:
birds that turn
and fly their long, long way.



'New Tracks' was written in a time of creative hardship for me, and the allusion to the issueless world of Ecclesiastes relates to this. In the strange if not surreal buried coin/migratory bird/dinosaur bones imagery, I was trying to evoke some of the sublimity of Milton's "...they also serve who only stand and wait."