written by: Polly Oliver
The edge of this land
Is not the shining granite of home;
That ancient mosaic of mica,
felspar, quartz- impervious.
These cliffs are made of bones.
Built from soft-sinking skeletal dust
Of creatures that trawled warm shallows
And strange depths; molluscs, corals.
Soluble; slowly stripped by endless shoals
Of flicking rain drops, borne on countless storms-
Massing into rivulets that, pushed by time, bore
Secret winding ways into the core.
There, waves push and roar
Beneath my feet in caves unseen;
The challenge of a salt-bearded god
to cloud-riding Thor.
Last night, the clouds hurled diamonds
Onto whistling grass and gorse,
That flash a million rainbows
To the face of the laundered sun.
In the pillowing dark billows
Of the tearing moon-streaked storm
My soul rose and fell, then finally sank
To blackest stillness where the scream
Of tempest was a distant hiss.
Then hauled by tide to the base of the cliff,
Was shoved into gloom of a sea-scraped den,
Out of the shining beam of morning.
There my washed wreckage
Can whiten in the barnacled black,
Like the ancient bones of a seafarer;
Ossifying in the echo of breakers.