Kuala Trengganu

Kuala Trengganu

On my long shore you are the sea.

Down my long night-time you are the free

White dashing curve of waves –

The white interminable curve that craves

Only the loving shingle and the sharp

Drawn breath of rhythmic dark

Beneath which pebble ranges shift

Against the searching under-drift

       Of foam-soft fingers.

The tall moon still lingers

Over palm-trees seaward tilting;

My long shore’s still lilting,

My long night-time’s iridescent

Under your wave-beat.

Why lead this present

Ever into future? why, Lord, this night

        Ever into dawn-light?  

shore deserted

Shore deserted

He could no longer hold the sea back

Nor stop the cold waves browsing on his ribs

Now that she must leave this shore.

Yes, there had been encounter here, a play,

A sequence of events. Here are relics

Of a fire that cooked a meal,

Kept warm their shins once, many times,

Accompanied the kindling of their limbs –

Black stubs of driftwood, missiles spent,

Clustered in a narrow ceremonial circle.

The ash has blown away already.


Reveals nothing new on the long strand: only the weal of weed

And the surf-line and the same sounds that nursed them.


Then let the sea surge up again!

And in a monstrous tide such as first laid limits to this shore

(Up to where sand is overhung with turf)

Wash away all her footprints, his beside,

And all the properties two players left behind.

For seas will outmanoeuvre men and women’s love,

And what they thought was their beach was the sea’s –

Always the sea’s – as was the sound of surf, not theirs.

Even the kindling of their limbs was jetsam’s

Warmth, their rendezvous always between the tides.



They asked me at the table where you were – why

had I come without you? Who was I

(the waiter said) to be without “the lovely girl”?

One evening, in the smoke and swirl

of voices and guitar, we were known

to be together. They remembered you

and remembered me, as two, as one.


We have no record, but in soul and blood.

We are writ in water, a shadow in the wood;

we are words unsounded and our deeds

are secrets all. – Ah, but we are the seeds

of half creation, the sea’s spring and the buds

of mountains. And when you whisper, all

The heavens thunder forth the fact of love!




When you leave the bed and slip away

out of our lovers’ hide, into the hard day,

I lean my head against the wall and wonder

if all this world’s mad machine will sunder

a love that grows as true and wild as ours.

My eyes run round these blank white walls and ceiling

and the sightless window, I stunned at what feeling

we two, skin to skin, have generated here

from nothing but ourselves; and I fear

however wild and true, whatever the powers

of this love binding us now, stringing the streets

and leaping the rooves between us – all else competes

against it: all the millions in this city

broken in the search for our treasure – millions we pity

from the fortress of our arms when long hours

of loving lie beyond.

Dare we apart,

and again apart, defy by mere loving art

snatched here and there in the rubble of time and shelter –

dare we still defy the machine’s mad welter?