From watching birds to looking for nails
in the oyster-catchers
their stiff-legged steps.
Gulls are in their element on dry land:
three fledgelings stagger, fluffy tuffs
on oversized feet.
Parents shriek warnings over their heads.
The train pulls out, headed for silence.
The dark sneaks back
in its wake. No guarantees.
It waits, waits like cuttings.
The jasmine’s sweetness
creeps on all fours
in the grass, searching for nails
from Noah’s ark.
I’m of the earth. Drenched by rain
and a sea which exposes rock as it withdraws.
I am a seaman on dry land.
I am tossed about in frothing green
and eat reddening fruit picked on the horizon.
The compass rose of my eyes swallows mountain-chains.
I’m of the earth, sailor-ghost rooted in sky,
guest with wide outstretched arms
and a heart swollen beneath full rigging.
I am a seaman on dry land: it’s essential
when unborn children sleep in the store-room, their names never spoken,
with heron’s eggs — voices of the lonely.
The compass rose of my eyes heaves to.
I promise to be loyal, I anchor here, I dare,
I share our soil, I swear: I am of the earth.