What if that wave were to stop
just there as it is, snapfrozen. What if
the blowsy wave flowers stopped,
a rip in the valance, each fine blue
stitch stilled holding its silver needle.
What if the sea did indeed stop
and all the vegetable armies, the grasses,
mad bunches on the stony dyke, the lupins,
their heavy perfume stopped, the starfish,
pale asterisk on the stony page, the polyps
stopped, their strange juices frozen.
What if the gulls and the terns
all stopped and the tiny black swallows
that zip up and down the midnight lagoon.
What if the sun itself were to stop, no longer
rinsing blue from the loveliest ice chamber.
Then we would be the wonders here,
like the seals, little fallen angels
in the dry valley. The bones in our hands
smoothed like long white gloves, our fine pelt
wind-dried, gravel in our brain pans and our eyes.
© Bernadette Hall