Photo by Iswanto Arif on Unsplash
54 sec 
Issue Four & Poetry

By Sunk Island

By Eleanor Hooker


(A keen boatwoman and volunteer lifeboat helm, Eleanor wrote this poem following news of an eerie radio transmission from Saturn picked up by NASA – listen here:


We cut the engine

and drop anchor by Sunk Island.

We lie across the centre thwart

to inspect our bowl of sky.

A shoal of Perch

gently bumps our boat.


Above us, starlight is occluded

by a single shifting cloud.

I attempt to read ellipses,

but they’re of unequal length,

and in a code I cannot decipher.


You tell me the cosmos is not silent,

and I ask you what it’s saying?

Only coffin ships will reach us.

Grim, I say, gazing into the night’s gulf.


Stars blink their sequence –

the constellations are another puzzle.

You point at the night,

accuse one bright bulb of being Saturn,

ask if I would like to hear its song.


On your ‘phone we hear

a choir of countless souls

hum a fluctuating dead note,

a keening carried here on astral winds –

an air for Armageddon.


The song raises a curlew

from its nest – whose ancient call

is a solemn riposte.

We lie then, in crumpled silence,

as the star-struck lake sways beneath our boat.

 Image by Iswanto Arif on Unsplash.