A Friday Poem from the first ever Picador Poetry collection, Robin Robertson's A Painted Field. 

The grey sea turns in its sleep
disturbing seagulls from the green rock.

We watched the long collapse. the black drop
and frothing of the toppled wave; looked out
on the dark that goes to Norway.

We lay all night in an open boat, that rocked
by the harbour wall -listening to the tyres creak
at the stone quay. trying to keep time –
till the night-fishers came in their arc. their lap
of light: the fat slap of waves. the water's
sway. the water mullioned with light.


The sifting rain. italic rain; the smirr
that drifted down for days; the sleet.
Your hair full of hail. as if sewn there.
In the damp sheets we left each other sea-gifts.
watermarks: long lost now in all these years
of the rip-tide's swell and trawl.

All night the feeding storm banked up
the streets and houses. In the morning
the sky was yellow. the frost ringing.

The grey sea turns in its sleep
disturbing seagulls from the green rock.