Upon The Beach
Upon the beach a solitary tree Defies the sea— a shambling stag at bay, The left side iridescent greenery, The right a driftwood copse of salt and spray. I wade from where the living sap still thrives To stroke an antlered bough worn white as bone: Wet sand sucks at my feet— so time sucks lives, The concubine reduced to chaperone. What lightning strike was this, what storm or wrack Wrought ruin with a hydra-headed glance? Half-naked, with the crabgrass at her back, She stands, as we must stand, a shrine to chance. So ravaged kings on crutches play their part, And ghosts of faded beauty stir the heart.
Mandalay, Mustique January 26, 2008