Issue 33 – 2022 – John Kinsella – The Surrounding Phenomena of Resighting ‘Eclipse Island’

<< Issue 33

John Kinsella

The Surrounding Phenomena of Resighting ‘Eclipse Island’




Eclipse tunes ocean

to rush continent

unsparing steel-

sculpture bluster;

seal ancestors

know the trauma

dividended by city

and port, oil in lamps

to write treatises

and scripts.




Antarctic-whirled sea

complots with wind to say

hard-headed, to say

fish skeletons, to say


glare-clouded quotes

a pressure issue of warning

flash which says days

are works and a sailor


imposes theogony where

songs of walk swim fly

were established when

now was shifting into place.




The edgy cameras are claws

over ‘gap’ the engineered sublimity

to dare promotional quips,

but series as building projects


where the budget is blown

high rise vertical lacky band

da Vinci rotor, military echo

of drone filming drone


filing each glyph of visit

and/or those lost in contemplation

and trigger warning signs

of despair as small land-birds


buffer all that impact

and fall imposed by plans

and by-laws and investments

that shake vertebrae of peninsula —


cogs, teeth, notches, indents

in the mechanism of drift.





Doubts sweep faces

as Eclipse Island retunes

to compensate as much as it can

for searches and microcosms

of plastics of rewriting

that breakdown as instructions

and glow sticks. Drones drift

out to sea for all the screen

presence their operators

insist on, salt altered

roots as trunks of prostrate

coastal scrub, veins and arteries

neither warm nor cold blooded.




Together it offsets

but clarity isn’t recall

though told to all

befits organism sea

swell shell,

crash and withdrawal.

Social skills and crossing

on rough waxing waters

whose illustrations

are as rich as monochrome,

retrieved blue and greens,

hull paint a threat

to barnacles. Careen

each story in rock.




Had planned reply

but decades collapsed.

Last thoughts, loving

the effects of heights,

medium of thick water

against stone

never as hard

as the claims.


But the lines are unbreakable

as coast binds coast,

island calls on mainland

to let go, to redress.




What I lost sight of: the eclipse

which I backtrack to release

the mental shadow, to listen

for its true name, for the layered

science of why rock floats

and yet stays fixed, makes

its own astrology.



John Kinsella’s recent books of poetry include Insomnia (Picador, 2019/Norton, 2020), Brimstone: a book of villanelles (Arc, 2020) and Aftering Delmore Schwartz’s A Season in Hell [Rimbaud] Translation (Equipage, 2021). Recent critical titles include Beyond Ambiguity: tracing literary sites of activism (Manchester University Press, 2021) and Legibility: an anti-fascist poetics (Palgrave, 2022).

<< Issue 33