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Kathryn Metcalfe – Measuring Distances

Measuring Distances

COMPASSES BELONGING TO BIRDIE BOWERS. HIS NAME IS SCRATCHED IN MINUTE LETTERS ON THE INSIDE OF ONE LEG.
Label on display case of compasses in Bute Museum, Rothesay.

Framed and wall mounted
your compass straddles
blue fabric,
an acute angled peak
of emptiness.

The shallow grooves
fitted your grip perfectly,
deftly they swivelled
and arced across naval charts.

Your eyes watched them dance
across distances
navigating blank space.

The first bergs
of the pack ice,
the black flag of the
Norwegians at the Pole,
you saw them both,
first.

.

Kathryn Metcalfe is a published poet from Renfrewshire. She is one of the Mill Girl Poets a group of female poets who wrote and performed a stage show of poetry, spoken word and song about the heritage and lives of the Paisley thread mill workers. She also founded an open mic for poets in her hometown to showcase and support the work of fellow writers.

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