I had a box of coins an ocean-going uncle
would bring me back, on his extended furloughs,
five months of rest and golf, and a little fraternising,
succeeding five of sea and glamorous moorings.
It was an old cigar box - do I imagine Cuba?.
Do I imagine now a faint aroma
that hung about it like the fabled former life
of a shriven villain, lately turned to sainthood?
They were a nice job lot: cruzeiros and pesetas,
Franco's burnished head and Bolivar's,
pfennigs and centimes, a whole array of kroner,
and some - Kuwaiti or Malaysian? -
more mysterious, with centrally drilled holes,
much more like treasure trove than just small change,
but all were tangible fragments of exotica
before exotica became mundane.
They should have been decisive, but I was land-locked, farm-bound,
and far too much in thrall to fields and haystacks
to swap for pitching decks, for changeable horizons
and every night the stars in new alignments.

David Callin

If you have any thoughts on this poem,  David Callin   would be pleased to hear them.