Just a note to say…
We collected these objets d’art as an investment,
a certain elemental evening when the sky was
a Fighting Temeraire – imagine it all ablaze and
sinking into the sea, with a slow, incandescent hiss.
St. Ives blinked in the wind with eyes like stars,
and saw this picture, but missed, I think, the details –
the lone pair of looters we made, dipping
and pecking like seagulls, at the tide’s trailing hem.
Like louis d’or – these shells, re-perfections
of chaos, we pocketed them exactly the way
you children did – and came running up to show us,
with the Risen Venus glistening in your eyes.
It must have been the brittleness of the moment –
my suddenly remarking the sea would soon
be tall, like a giant to Jack over our heads.
And, half a mile out from the shore, we tried
to laugh off the threat, gruff and rowdy as
it would be, bobbing and weaving around us
like a drunken day-tripper stumbling home,
looking for a fight to land the killer blow.
Still, we were not to be churned and turned
into specks of sand, but it was good being scared,
like being unbearably happy with ourselves
on a big dipper and not yet divided in death.
We knew, of course, you’d be wreathed in smiles,
coming to clear the house – you’d find these shells
on my desk and handle them with hushed reverence –
marvelling at these treasures sculptured in Atlantis.