Since morning you have watched
Over and over, the same wave rising to fill
The emptied spaces of your breath.
Again, and then again, the months return
Like fingered grains palmed back into the curve
Of hours, sixty, seventy, this year and that,
August gnawing February in a still
Repeat of summer rain. No child, you,
You raise each step as if for a while you wondered
Whether or not to put it down again.
When the tide comes in you stoop
To roll your pantlegs up, so, before
Your ankles sink into the wave.
A wind breaks from the north on the grey stones.
Slowly, without speaking, you rise; you put
Your hands into your pockets without meaning to.
Sad rage, silence, sudden August turning
The windmill seasons of the heart,
Above you gulls turn.
Still I have known you days and days
You will not have forgotten, Octobers, Novembers
Ranged like standing birds about the shores
Of our return. I can recall
The slow, sudden, sure, uncertain
Turn of eyes reflected in the slipping tide
As we approach, scattering across the light
Footfall and startled wingbeat
Crested over the waves
You stand trying to keep the faces I remember,
Absent from season, the eyes, the voice,
The hair unchanged except where streaked with light
From all the mornings you have known.
Here, still here, lost in the channeled thirst,
The wave's hunger, slow axle of dreams
And tethered longing, the moment finds you
Caught between the rising weather like a stillness
Between desire and scorn, again, again...
Spurns me to reason: husband, father,
Dreamer of silences and stone,
You are all you will have given back,
Remembrance for something still and endless
As the sea.