For Pat Rogerson
‘To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower…’
AUGURIES OF INNOCENCE, William Blake
From sixteen hundred miles away a friend,
on the southern most edge of Iberia,
with the Maghreb below the horizon,
and all of the South Atlantic beyond,
sends me a photograph of low dunes,
a cobalt sky, and flaxen sands that stretch
almost out of sight – and texts me to say
she imagines the poem I might write there.
Birds call. A flock of gulls or gannets, too far
out at sea to be sure, flies eastwards, where
almost translucent clouds – teased out like skeins
of wool – are high above the Gulf of Cadiz,
and the elusive ruins of Atlantis.
Sand seeps from the dunes onto the beach. Each grain
contributes to the golden shore, and waves
relentlessly tug wet sand seawards.
What worlds we carry in our skulls, what albums,
what compasses, and dreams!