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Yellow is the morning light
streaming high over cliffs and peaks,
dipping low into valleys
and lifting up the lids of sleep,
it is the hum of garrulous bees
giddy and gloved in perfume,
furry stripes dusted with neon talc
Mike and I first met on the Greenpeace ship, Esperanza, in the UK Winter of 2003. I was a volunteer onboard – dividing my time between deckhand and assistant cook; Mike joined as Second Mate.
I remember lucidly that first trip on the Esperanza. Tall and slim, with springs in his limbs, Mike was the ship’s sprite – light in spirit and in stature. He was also known as the ‘weatherman’ – on account of his uncanny accuracy with his meteorological predictions. I can picture him now, stood on the bridge, clad in a chequered shirt and marginally too short jeans – both retrieved from the secondhand clothes cupboard onboard – kicking his heels from side to side, in a bid to keep warm.
Mike was the officer assigned the ‘graveyard’ watch (midnight – 4am), so called for it being most anathema to the body’s natural rhythm, awake as you are in what would ordinarily be the deepest hours of sleep. I was his watch keeper – his second pair of eyes.
Jemima Fincken is a writer and poet born in Wales. She is currently based in London with her husband Mike Fincken, a captain who sails and works with the international environmental NGO, Greenpeace. They are recently married and are expecting their first baby in early Summer followed by ‘plans to run back to the wilds to settle as a family’.