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.