by Kendrick Smithyman
Like flies about their ceiling aircraft haul
over the cloudcap, your far sight outclimb.
Thin air, compacted, trails them white
whose belling engines roll and toll.
Daily, plan darts them up efficient, slim,
in their way lovely. They are dedicate
as we are not. We watch as they patrol.
As they patrol tides potter round the beach,
frivolous charmers setting in to please.
Early, one morning's first, we found
janthina shells, those ardent rash
deepwater wanderers whose shapes amaze,
exquisite always. Driven here they ground
their raft, and rot. Colour goes, curves relapse.
Colour, then curve, dim out, if not to plan.
Purpose, among pelagics, seems at lack
except they breed yet not to give
offence, in which they outdo men.
I count these years that we shall not get back;
most probably too few, the weeks we thrive;
think, privileged, to love you while I can.
While we may love (for we may, read I must -
merely is this delusion being kind?)
menacing spreads the sunburnt haze,
old farms dry out and blow to dust.
We tend our soil too casually. Demeaned,
our earth rebels and sours, its tilth decays.
We marred this land. Its creatures, we are lost.
Between two modes of loss, with less than choice
we play at kissing who shall not play long
before our unimportance ends.
Along the coast windshadows race.
Pale terns which slide beyond us have no song.
I draw you to me. Take my guilty hands
in yours, so, gently to me lift your face.
Last updated January 14, 2019