new zealand electronic poetry centre

H E L E N   S W O R D


Sea Level


Climb the cliffside path
and the view climbs with you:
ringed hills flexing their contours,
islands plumped like pillows
as the sea stretches and yawns.

From your blufftop bedroom,
the bay parfaited in bands
of darkening turquoise below you,
its surfaces frothed by dolphins,
its depths stirred by the telescope
you’d meant to point at the sky,

you imagine a life at sea level:
the city skyline slung low
and tight across your horizon,
water revving at your doorstep.

Only a landslide can save you now.
Tumble down to the tidal zone
and beach yourself here beside me
where vision and substance meet,
where the earth flattens and floods
and smashed beer bottles wash up at our feet
disguised as amber jewels.  



Last updated 8 May, 2006