new zealand electronic poetry centre

J I L L   J O N E S

A foot in the ocean

At last there’s salt in my eyes
time anchors hill and memory green
in perpetual gallop, the sky’s
work of clouds, the wing also forgets.

I search below the cliff’s beak
ocean’s transience, curved, resistant
drawing poetry and hills towards the sea
water slips its fathomed dark.

Circle and persist, tidal, incessant
oxides, trusted points, fasteners of time.
I’ve missed the sudden still in noon
and recall, a cold anchor that’s lain.

You walk to the cemetery, I head down.
How much follows the mound and grass
my foots scuffs up a difficult stone
and temperature pretends it’s paradise.

Lichen hones the seat, cemetery’s forgotten
not far from cold and fibulant swell
to sharpen green wakes, to register
circling gull tips, now less invisible.

Under low branches, washed up bone
raided oysters, weeds, a log’s duration.
In the strait’s long memory, water
balances hulls, an hour off mainland.

Across whet-stone memory, skirting shearwater
above a cranking noise that works the pier
this far south to the trance of salt.
The wind, of course, has been elsewhere.

Oban, Rakiura, December 2005



Last updated 26 April, 2006