2007 - 2021

Poem of the week : 15% Remaining

15% Remaining

I expect you’ll know, quite well, of how evening
Catches up with the soul like a frail old boat
Presumably has more difficulty sailing
Into harbour with each fresh expedition
So that the skipper says, ‘ah, now listen
To her creak, I don’t know how much longer
She’ll hold out, you can see the weathering
In her wood, is that important? Och,
We’ll bring this vessel in somehow yet
Though our haul is small and our prosperity
Contingent on the climate.’

That is, you’ll know
Of sitting up late at the computer for hours
Or rolled around listlessly in bed half-thinking
Of the minutes passing and nothing in particular,
Concentrating for a while on your breath
For nothing so bold as an answer but only
For the sake of a purposeful action held
In abeyance.

Perhaps you’ll know too
Of the games, the multicoloured trousers
The juices, vapours, tiny home improvements
(Each subcatalogued into definitive regions)
The pirated ebooks, subscription pamphlets,
Approximate battery life, unsaved documents
And the contemplative pose you sometimes
Still and against your better judgement
Fancifully assume, poking at a sentiment
Left in the gut like the sediment at the end
Of a Berocca.

And of course you’ll know
(How could you not) of a PIN, a fingerprint
Or remembered shape, of how your hand
Will take, with intuitive, irresistible measure
The mineral of your phone in its light frame
As if its parts and yours were much the same
And scroll through lists, so many lists, so tritely.
What arrangement of formulae, integers, strings
Could solve this fraction, you wonder vaguely
Though you know it unlikely and your eyes sting
And your favourite parts are doubly severed.
We will not each be famous for fifteen minutes
But all fifteen percent famous forever.

You simply lie awake waiting for the skipper
To impart some new message of cosmic reassurance;
Something like ‘hey, it’s good to see you back
And not a moment too soon, for reverie
Is abundant in these nets, come fill your every
Cavity with this here special brine! Am I glad
To see you with your brightly-coloured trousers on!’
Most nights you’ll only glimpse him there on the horizon
But on a good night, you’ll feel a little like the harbour
Closing your dusky arms around him.



Calum Rodger is a poet, researcher, tutor and events organiser based in Glasgow, Scotland, working in performance, print and digital media. His work combines experimental, traditional and spoken word forms to explore themes of Scottish culture and identity, hedonism, art, philosophy and social networking often with a dose of irreverent humour.

Comments (1)

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Boyce says:

    Our body, the vessel, from its first sunrise heaves with time bellowing its sails – hoeing fleetingly to its sunset. Somewhere between its salty seed is spilt and set adrift to heave and ho in its own colourful fashion.

Help keep our journalism independent

We don’t take any advertising, we don’t hide behind a pay wall and we don’t keep harassing you for crowd-funding. We’re entirely dependent on our readers to support us.

Subscribe to regular bella in your inbox

Don’t miss a single article. Enter your email address on our subscribe page by clicking the button below. It is completely free and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.