from SLAVA, ISLAND, by Sarah Cave


Granite shelves

the heron
solitude beaks

his habit
wings protect
him from

callous wind

the lighthouse
with its vision
seeks him






Skin clad curragh
shifts between islands
to the heronry
seeking meaning
seeking names
seeking conversation
with rocks

greater depths reveal
to be        his own

‘lost growing
sense of amnesia’
the polyarnik notes,
swigging liquor
from a carton,
claiming incidents







after Moomin mama

Collecting shellsXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXby the hour
sea life becomes
purely gelatinous
polythene vases

Slava arranges the bloomsXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXon the hour
microbead neck hung
albatross bloated
defying matter
bulking out the product
leftovers of seagulls, terns,

a sorrowful other
a psalm screechedXXXXXXXXXXXXXXxXXXXXXhourly
high above the highway
the night song adrift ever northwards

the Night Watch
on the hour

their song drifts
Konstantin’s spectre
recollects civilisationXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXbells striking

the monk moves in his sleep
he knows his past and his future
insecurities of the present
limestone keel beneath
his feet crumble like cake
in tea
the samovar overheating, outdated







XXXXXXXXXXXXFluorescence skims water,
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXpuckers with ice.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXxKonstantin, a thick band of wool
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXxpulled tight to his skin,
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXwatches obscure
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXsilhouettes on the horizon. He
XXXXXXXXXXXXXxhis mind, seeking
XXXXXXmiddle ground, middle meaning, middle –






An arbitrary line
drawn in Slava’s
of island-man
and mainland
is made unreal
by storm

erosion, rocks
salt, shell, quartz


Sarah Cave lives in a wood near Bodmin Moor. She writes poetry, prose and non-fiction and has been published in numerous magazines including Stride, Osiris and Tears in the Fence. The poems presented here are from a long sequence about a Russian Orthodox monk living on a remote Siberian archipelago. Sarah’s debut pamphlet, Cast on Ice, was published in May by Smallminded books, using more poems from the sequence.

Evgenia Arbugaeva was born in Tiksi in the Russian Arctic. She studied at the International Center of Photography’s Documentary Photography and Photojournalism program in New York and now works as a freelance photographer. In her personal work she often looks into her homeland, the Arctic, discovering and capturing the remote worlds and people who inhabit them. Arbugaeva has won various competitions. She is a recipient of the ICP Infinity Award, Leica Oskar Barnack Award and the Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund Grant. Her work has been exhibited internationally and appeared in such publications as National Geographic, mare, Le Monde, and The New Yorker magazines. 

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