Looking out over the slate face of the sea
I watch the tide fill with water the footsteps you made
Roll over where you stood sketching with a finger in the sand

The sea has cleaned you away
Is curled up on the shore and
Only the ground-swell recalls
An old sorrowful hunger.

When the sun has bled in the sky
I will watch the sea's
slate face pucker and
Draw away
Like the woman did.


The long drawl of the tide scrapes on the shingle
A wave picks at the pier's rotting ribs and teeth

There is a strut of ragged wood that
Ants have hollowed like woodpeckers
Left bloodless on the sand

A broken blue buoy
Hanging in a skein of broken nets

And one weary afternoon fisherman who
Paints with his slow brush

A green and red guardian
For the hull of his boat


At grim midsummer earth opens a carious mouth
The stonecircles are cold for sacrifice

Then we gather in one guttural tongue
Kneel silent as the sun rises over the motherland

Shadow sticks its dried blood to the long barrows
Splashes the shattered stones

After the rain
We will plant the gourd shaved and washed in the warm peat

Tug the bled shadow to the fen
and stand as one
Watching the rough husk
slide under the brown water
Priests calling the harvest.

- Robert James Berry