Off Point Lonsdale

By Judith Hughes

(from Images, the sixth anthology of
The Eastern Writers Group)

Perched like a bird
on the rock ledge
feel the wind bite wet skin—
exhilarating surface of pain
salt-soaked scratches
shivering cold
and yet I’ll dive under again
where kelp with claw-like roots
grips the sea-floor
and rises
in thick columns
to the surface
Those are the undulating islands
the leathery serpents that twist and writhe
flip over and back
over and back
on the restless windswept waves
Dive underwater
away from the wind
in a still silent world
twist between columns
of an ancient temple
Ancient memories rise
Swim through dim spaces

where light in strong shafts
pours through the silvery crinkled surface
of patterned inverted waves
lost in dark depths
of strange fear
Dare the dim distance
reaching the ocean’s blank wall
of not knowing
not knowing
not knowing
How can I know?
What must I meet
not knowing?

away from the wind
the dart of a fish
makes clearer the stillness
Deceptively still—
for see how the ocean currents
have twisted the long leaves of kelp
and around
each other
in a spiralling movement
densely packed
each column stands,
but all lean
at the same slight angle

It flows—
the whole ocean flows—
How can I move
in a world that flows
and flows?

as a child
on the rock ledge
asking dim questions
sensing dark answers
in memories lost