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.