Missing on a wild swim
A day of drizzle,
The cliff path almost a stream
And the grass mole-sheened with damp.
She needs bare feet for the final
Slither down sheer rocks, then
The shell sand crunches tinnily under her toes,
Grittily clean like a loofah.
The cliffs, skewed to spectating shapes,
Their heads blotted by washy mist,
Observe her coolly as she strips
Under a dripping overhang.
The lagoon beguiles like a mirror.
It bewitches her past the horror
Of its touch, and lemon-luminous
Through fluid ice the rippled floor
Gleams, mysterious as moons.
Stones wrinkle to meet her; here and there
A kissing-curl of weed wafts apparently
In perfect stillness. There is an awakening
Smell of flatfish. Time draws breath. “Please,”
She says to the greybeard huddle of crags,
“I have a wish.” They frown, and ponder.
The glass globe of the mist
Staggers a moment. Waves
Glass-green beyond the sandbank freeze
Whitely before they break.
Something has happened:
Something is flashing silver
Behind her back; the swell caresses her;
The sea is calling
In a voice she's heard before.
Laughing with mythic certainty she plunges
Through crystal towards the glitter
Of a memory, swinging her hair
And singing through the spray.