FOR THOSE IN PERIL


PARADISE ISLAND, BAHAMAS

The sting ray slipped from the azure surface

of the narrow, empty sound, its wings

and tail so large and swimming in the air

for what seemed so long,  we stared, speechless,

and, after it had gone, said: ‘Did you see

what I did?’ and looked along the silver beach

for others who’d seen but no one seemed amazed.

MIRABELLA GULF, CRETE

Under the cobalt waters are mermaids,

Minoans, Cretans, Venetians, Turks, Britons,

Germans,  lepers. Above are ferryboats,

jet skis and mottled sea snakes which slither

like sibilants onto flat rocks beside

the corniche. ‘Look,’ I say. You do – and shudder.

DEGANWY PROMENADE, WALES

We watch the Conwy mussel fishers, each

in his own skiff, at low tide, rake the bed,

see the shells clatter into buckets, hear

the men joshing – an immemorial trade.

We find a piece of driftwood – no bigger

than a pocket knife – chafed by sand, stone, oceans.

Because of the knot in the wood, the sea

could only shape it as a tail and head,

one side a snake’s eye, the other a ray’s.

Chance,  symmetry and perseverance…

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