The Fetch

By Ciarán Carson b. 1948 Ciaran Carson
I woke. You were lying beside me in the double bed,
prone, your long dark hair fanned out over the downy pillow.
 
I’d been dreaming we stood on a beach an ocean away
watching the waves purl into their troughs and tumble over.
 
Knit one, purl two, you said. Something in your voice made me think
of women knitting by the guillotine. Your eyes met mine.
 
The fetch of a wave is the distance it travels, you said,
from where it is born at sea to where it founders to shore.
 
I must go back to where it all began. You waded in
thigh-deep, waist-deep, breast-deep, head-deep, until you disappeared.
 
I lay there and thought how glad I was to find you again.
You stirred in the bed and moaned something. I heard a footfall
 
on the landing, the rasp of a man’s cough. He put his head
around the door. He had my face. I woke. You were not there.

Ciaran Carson, “The Fetch” from For All We Know. Copyright © 2008 by Ciaran Carson. Reprinted by permission of Wake Forest University Press.

Source: For All We Know (Wake Forest University Press, 2008)

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Poet Ciarán Carson b. 1948

POET’S REGION Ireland

Subjects Living, Separation & Divorce, Love, Heartache & Loss, Romantic Love, Nature, Seas, Rivers, & Streams

Poetic Terms Couplet, Free Verse

Biography

Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, into an Irish-speaking family, poet Ciarán Carson attended Queen’s University, Belfast. He held the position of traditional arts officer of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland from 1975 to 1998 and was appointed director of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University in 2003. Carson is the author of a number of collections of poetry, including The Irish for No (1987), winner of . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Separation & Divorce, Love, Heartache & Loss, Romantic Love, Nature, Seas, Rivers, & Streams

POET’S REGION Ireland

Poetic Terms Couplet, Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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