Young Poets Network

Posted 19.12.13 in Writing

‘If I Could’ by Jake Reynolds

If I could maintain the dip and
swoon, the plume of pine
needles on my jaw, seeing
feathers rustle in the wind
through an eyepiece…

If I could take the boughs of
your arms, ours, white
knuckles set to burst with
sea water, salt cuts healed
yet red as a cutlet…

If I could hand you every
liberation on a platter, flick
the lids of your eyes, your
lashes, destroy the ashes
of your own history…

If I could dive to the bottom
of your ship, latch like
limpet, nuzzle hull and act
as your anchor, rooting you
home, to me…

If I could shackle your
captors, and act myself
corsair, captain of the
captives, tame the sea
to see tsunami…

If I could see from the eye
of an albatross
the way you lift me,
the flex and poise of our
bodies over water…

If I could be seated, made
to breathe, to turn this seething
into something wondrous,
hold the waves at bay and
lament the gathering of the storm…

If I could meet lip with
lip, stumble over stair
and not my own words,
let the ocean wash over
me like a softened pebble…

If we could walk on hot
coals, callousing our soles
on a blistering scarlet sea,
clambering over shipwreck shards,
we would, saying ‘ah, you, me’.


Jakes’s poem was a runner-up in the English National Ballet challenge to write a poem inspired by the epic love story of Conrad and Medora from Le Corsaire, the ballet based on Lord Byron’s poem The Corsair (1814).

Comments (7)

7 Responses to “‘If I Could’ by Jake Reynolds”

  1. David Rimell says:


  2. eugene says:


  3. Holly says:

    This is simply gorgeous. The images are so vivid and untamed, and I love the rhythm of the last line. It concludes it perfectly. I always look up to/envy people who can end poems well ;)
    Really great stuff.

  4. Tasha says:


  5. Kayla-Lyn says:

    This is a really beautiful piece.

  6. Biswanath Bhaumik says:

    The heightened imaginative sensibility of the poet has made the poem a great one.

  7. Emmanuel Odoi-Anim says:

    I aspire for the air of such magnificence