Poetry by Laura Wainwright: The Plough

Poetry by Laura Wainwright: The Plough

The Plough

Hawthorn half in flower,
a sculpture of wind,
shreds clear sight of the bay.
Beyond, beacons wink on thin
then impasto blue. 
There’s a headland and an island 
in muffled focus. 
Could I swim there?  
Water disguises distances;
this light is a trick.

Yelp of a gull above.
The hawthorn points west, I think,
I step, look down 
over ragwort, wild carrot 
and rock to the shore, 
find a horse, 
shale grey, translucent as krill,
symptom of storm, fever and dream 

Y Ceffyl Dŵr,
ears peaked like helical shells,
planting its kelp-feathered hooves 
in the dragged sand, 
waiting again for the plough
or saith seren y gogledd,
drowned by midday. 


Author’s Note

Rural Welsh legend of the Ceffyl Dŵr or Water Horse. The horse is said to lure people, often exhausted travelers, to climb onto its back, only to throw its riders to their deaths. Most famously, the horse was seen in the wake of a storm in St Bride’s Bay in Pembrokeshire by a farmer, who took it back to his farm. The horse and farmer worked together in the ensuing weeks, the horse pulling his plough, when suddenly it careered through the fields and down to the beach, and horse, farmer, and plough vanished into the sea.

Saith seren y gogledd: Welsh meaning the ‘seven stars of the north’.