At first it was only the rock-face that I saw,
a distant majesty of white, a hint
across the bleak sea, a glimmer reflecting,
a sun not risen yet.
Is it a rock-face?
So early in the morning there can be no certainty.
I’ve sailed this patch of empty sea before
and I had been told this was a landless ocean:
the drooped horizon and the motion of hurrying
waves the interminable narrative.
But then this rock
suggesting land – a geographic point
at which a continent leaned out and turned the dark sea
green and white.
I would not try to explore
the continent behind the shore. If this was
a swelling of firm earth out of the flux,
a site of fixity and love, I would not seek
for any further knowledge than that this land
lay here against the sea, an anchorage,
a place of stillness, joy and resolution always.
It has risen like Atlantis overnight!
These white citadels and palaces of rock
still glisten from the oceanic suck.
And now I’m anchored here and gone ashore,
climbing again and again above the rhyming
breakers into our tilted fields to lie
beside you in the sun, I ask if this land
that claims eternity will not sink back
another night beneath the impenetrable drift.