What Was Washed Up By The Sea
( new version )
What was washed up by the sea,
we study on the shore,
empty shells and bits of wood,
weeds the waves tossed and tore.
Time to watch the tall ships go,
begin an ocean race.
From quieter centuries,
mast and sail pass with grace.
There’s only now, swallows say.
Rise with the dew of dawn.
We’re sorry now, seagulls cry.
For mariners they mourn.
Taken by the horizon,
the last tall ship sails on.
I step by a razor shell,
another stranger gone.
Pictures In A Glass
Soon the throb of summer’s engine
the high ascending sun will waken.
There’s only now, the swallows say,
while sparrows mourn what winter’s taken.
No close the door, draw the curtain,
go to the shore for pleasure certain.
Follow the lines drawn by the tides,
listen to what the wind has shaken,
Green scaled tail of a dormant dragon
is a hedge coiled round a garden.
We’re sorry now, the seagulls cry.
Will the captives be given pardon?
When you were a lad and you had a lass,
you never saw such long, long grass,
and it seemed that summer would never pass,
now pictures survive in a glass.
On the rocks the waves were splashing,
in the sky the gulls were shrieking,
in a pool a crab was clawing
at a shell that hid a snail.
I was younger, I was stronger,
I could hear the sea shore speaking,
and I thought of Ilmarinen,
the smith who forged the Sampo,
the magic mill that spun gold and silver
in Kalevala, the old Finnish tale.
Longfellow wrote Hiawatha
to its rhythm and its metre.
On the page the verses moved me,
they spoke of pines, nuts and cones,
pleasant to my ear like the flow of water,
the flow of water over stones.
I have never been to Finland,
rowed a boat upon its water,
heard the song of Vainamoinen,
as he courted Louhi’s daughter.
There is still the sudden rainbow,
the silence after thunder,
the kite I flew on the grass,
the first inklings of wonder.
Who has stolen the red sun?
Who has hidden the white moon?
Now the wizard war is over,
who will find words to fit the tune?