The way, for example, paper
retains its self despite
damp or heat or frost,
or a bird continues to flit
on altered airstreams.
Out here in the damp margins
flint fractures the fens’ panorama
with bright towers of churches,
primed to call out if the sea
visits, without warning,
the sites of special scientific interest:
the heath of silver-studded blues;
woodlands where the pool frogs spawn;
lagoons where starlet sea anemones
practise their minute fission.
Instead, the sea deftly extends
its lips to the land, worrying
stones into flecks of sand:
all substance carried under,
like the story of the lost town,
submerged into history,
the lungs of its chapel replete
with creatures. The stone floor
of its aeons-old sea burgeoning
beneath the new town, unsettled.
Even now I hear the creak-crack
of the pill boxes, rusting their way
towards France, their iron bars released,
as the houses and people and matter
progress and regress.
The way, for example, the ocean,
freeing itself of its borders,
falls constantly into its element:
its heedless waters closing
over our mouths.
Commissioned for Practicing Sustainability
(Springer, US, 2012, Ed. G Madhavan)
Silver Winner of the 2013 Nautilus Book Awards.