On a bladderwracked, forsaken isle,
all swirled about with wind-blown gulls,
a wild man keeps his hut and hearth,
eschewing what he held most dear;
awash in toxic madness.
A giant monster, gnarled and raving,
marked by sun and raging winds,
bewitched beneath a pregnant moon,
and twisted like a mandrake root;
harbouring ancient sins.
He takes and takes and gives no thanks
for nature’s offerings at his feet;
for crippled birds and drowning fish,
for whelks and eels and scuttling things
which fuel his bitter life.
And now, a careless, romping tide
discards a lost, blush-bellied bounty:
beauty, all displaced and landlocked,
thrashing, panicked in the shallows,
crying to the endless ocean.
His spear abandoned on the sand,
he circles, squats and meets her eye.
His nut brown hand, unbidden, moves
in a long-forgotten empathy
for what her eye does hold.
He lifts her, cradled, like a babe,
His long-lost child of long ago.
He mutters songs and incantations
as he wades against the coming tide
to save her precious life.
When the mother comes to claim her own
and the fins and flukes are lost to sight,
his weathered cheeks are wet with tears
of grief, and loss, and wonder
in the magic of this day.