Long shadows ripple across the morning tracks
walkers, runners and joggers
men, women and children
together and alone
mapped in sand
fragile against the rising tide.
Stepping into their tapestry of journeys
I mark my own bare footpath
sea grape, coconut and casuarina
oblivious to the cock-fighting men
duelling politics or cricket
or any excuse to raise a voice.
The upturned boat is gone
blue and yellow turned right side
early this morning and men hauled her keel
gouging a trench through the cold sand
fighting the push-me-pull-me of the waves
laden with fish pots cutting her way east.
A father and son cast their lines into the surf
sitting on white buckets upturned in private prayer
patiently waiting for Simon Peter.
A scrawny small boy runs and plays between
but nothing bites and soon they pick up and go
emptying nothing but water from their pails.
In the distance, under the cliff, gesturing hands talk
stopping to stretch, pick and savour the pinkish fat-porks
harvesting a bag to later sell.
Dogs bark from above as I walk toward the turn
face-to-face with an elderly woman
cheeks puffed with fruit and mouth dripping with joy.
A solitary woman, never seen before
robed in blue and standing tall
hands church-clasped before lightning flash
casts chanting prayers across the sea
turbulent mercury stirred under darkness
now calmed by her invocation.
Your night waves reshaped the beach between the cliffs
shrinking one end to widen the other
but now you are calm and aglitter
enticing me with whispering promises and cooling emeralds.
This morning we are finally alone
and your bracing brine tingles like a new lover.
Swimming out to where the fishing boats anchor
I look toward the shore through history's eyes
as one of the first who swam ashore and stayed
who lives on from father to son.
You are my island mother
and this is my land, my island home.