The Ship-Owner's House

Judi Sutherland

I live in a galleon on an inland sea;
cresting the swell of the topmost river-terrace.
Sometimes I sit at this sterncastle window
watching the rain-shrouded Pennines ebb

and flow, blustering the Helm Wind over;
the low clouds massing over Great Shunner Fell
travelling toward me in flocks of weather;
and the small birds rising against the gale.

This is a foreign England, the stormfront edge
of nowhere; a fierce, untethered town
riding the wild moors, where Atlantic squalls
rage in, to ransack the heather.

The high rooms of this house are filled like sails.
Its element is air. It heaves and yaws;
the compass of our greenfield voyage spins,
and our charts are all terra incognita.

Judi Sutherland

Judi Sutherland is a writer who moved from Oxfordshire in 2014 and is getting to know her new environment in Barnard Castle, County Durham.

Her poems can be found in a number of magazines, including The Interpreter's House, Acumen, Prole, Oxford Poetry and The New Statesman, and in the chapbook which she shares with poet Jim Burns, Dark Matter VI, from Black Light Engine Room Press.

She has written two novels - as yet unpublished - and is currently working on a long poem about the River Tees. She is the proprietor of poetry webzine The Stare's Nest, and her blog is at

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The Ship-Owner's House © 2017 Judi Sutherland: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.