Daniel Marshall – edgeland


where the throat of the grass is driest
never having sampled jeju’s mineral cool spring water
that cuts through the cypress forests trimmed with ferns
to the doorsteps of houses & into farmers’ taps.
where bored looking boats are anchored in brackish water.
where the stucco of tiny houses flakes like acne,
in desperate need of grouting round the kitchen pipes
from which steam seeps like abstruse enjambments.
where forlorn buildings are without evidence of life
but i can hear faint whisperings of soap opera ghosts
& old korean songs about homesickness, love & parting.
where after years of salt water walloping it,
hand prints of rust splay the lighthouse’s cheek.
where tires weigh down fishing nets for no apparent reason
: nothing moves except the wind sailing gull-kites
who hover round the restaurant to harpoon chance meals.

where a bitch & her scar faced tyke stray,
tugboat eyed & peculiar for jeju’s homeless dogs,
because they do not scatter like the tourists’ litter
but chew at the hub of my boots, paw at my scarf,
bury wet noses like washed cherries in the crevices of my clothes.
the mother worries that the tyke is being a pest, winches it away,
as if she knows that pestering might make me alter
my decision to feed her some morsel hidden in my ample pockets
-supine, she scuffles with the pup who claws her dugs.
i hold the pup up for closer inspection; it seems so familiar with me,
at ease, as if it greets me from a previous incarnation;
i wonder if the circumstances were better last time we met?



Daniel left England 5 years ago after his studies, for Korea: he hoped to learn first hand about an Oriental culture, to meet & learn something from a monk & to study a different kind of poetry. His hope to meet a monk was realized, he even worked with one called Dae sa nim, who taught him the value of building & other stuff. He eventually built his own B&B & cafe on the beautiful Island of Jeju. When he gets a minute he blogs at danielpaulmarshall.wordpress.com.

5 thoughts on “Daniel Marshall – edgeland”

  1. An astounding poem. The first verse brings me to a place I’ve never been. And the second verse is unforgettable. This gets added to my fav. poem list. Thanks.

  2. Hi Daniel,
    I really enjoyed reading your poem. Your subtle narrative and fresh use of imagery invited me to wander the island of Jeju. Thanks, and keep writing!

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