The edge went soured with element
where the near-dead child took in one hand
a banner brown as foam and in the other hand took
a deadwhite shell; he shook
water’s least clutch from him staggering the sand
in his west wind’s hale sweep through a descent
all curd and cloud. Haze heaved on gull but not clement
his coast wept him there salt, stained him whose strand
wound thirty years on and off in sleighting his watching.
Almost I outgrow my child
who demands me back shore-roving
but his gust again breeds at crease and tremble
green slakes to its white angle
pouring a howl loud into scoured toss or waving
its old man’s hairs like Lear, and wild
as wise Lear reft homeless. One raw Saturday failed
my ship home, shaped me last for leaving
a too long bided child for the walk-away gale.
For, however clung, it was a day
which had sometime to blow, that it spell
off delayed years of a boy’s concealing
in marram trove or in falling
dune, though not all is said its last well
meant farewelling, nor will at a lost game play
itself meekly out by a word, be at a gesture spun away.
Fresh as forever the breakers then, as grey
in their distance squalls cannily slipped, and drifted.
Losing and tossed I watched
a youngest dig as his father deep, and sprint over
a reach which leaked first by his foot marked,
and in my surrendering rocked,
deeding him title to this, his right to discover
his own shell, wave borne, his own patched
tattered made-over windbreaker to wear in the lashed
rail of his due, in the rant of his weather.
For all tomorrow tracked him, running his sand away.
Neither is leaving to be quit
whole in one day, walked into nor stalked finally out
as man or child but in mankind’s always shaken
hold is untimely set. Waken
your boy in his hood back from his wail and shout
in tomorrow’s yesterday chopped like a bit
of timber draughting his tides’ round and about
with gulls’ bland dispatch, and a gull’s wit
in the offsetting hurl allow print or blot its sand.
But cull your digged year’s oath
8. 7. 57
today off and black Lear be for too little a time
at the climbed head pounced over that prospect
shades away north in a seemly fact
not distance dims out, nor scrubs name
off your fondest telling. Is faith
other than this, a sure unworded clutch at your breath?
Now blackback, gannet, redbill, hawk shame
me citizen, if too meekly I drink at those miles.