In all its whispers, mutterings
And grand, emphatic outbursts
Had not one word for me.
So I quit the high cliff-path
Slipped off my shoes
And went to meet it:
A tentative diplomacy
On the shifting, lawless border
Where the flow tide sawed steadily at the sand.
I offered it my two feet.
It took another yard of beach
And chopped me off at the ankles.
We chuckled like schoolboys
And nudged each other playfully.
Then it showed me a pair of terns –
Black-capped, delicate as snowflakes, fierce as eagles –
And led me down a cut
Between sandbanks spread with stones
Like seeds on a granary loaf.
Waders took wing,
Their cries pinging from the rocks
In tiny ricochets.
I read the lines the ebb had written
In the silver sand,
Tuned into the wind
And traced the legends in the rocks.
And in the shallows
Way below the high-tide line
We found ourselves
Deep in conversation once again.
Not my close communion
With tree and leaf and soil
As cold was turned to freshness
And all that emptiness