Old Man’s Beard silks over shoulders of tangled green:
brownly the path repeats its welcome tune;
two skinks glissando through her hands
and a stumpy-tail, lichen-patched, in the sun
recognizes her with a long Jurassic gaze.
The heat seethes dragonflies,
their sheen, the exact colour of flight.
Everywhere, orchids stretch pink limbs
on wispy stems but do not quite bring off the rope-trick.
She thuds at any hidden snake
and a pair of blue wrens split the air,
splice it up, disappear.
At last — a spill of sand,
the first steep slope, a slap of wind
and before her the smiling sea.
Left and right the dunes loll
lion-colour; below, the light
bleeds silver on water; a rainbow sail
windsurfs the inshore green
and cries of gulls and children thin
into air, pure as the notes of a pipe.
Suddenly on the next knoll, in one quick leap
there’s a boy — slanting eyes, curly hair —
capering, he slings a stone,
whistles and swoops and rolls and will be seen.
Her eyes fine to horizons;
the line of her throat and chin
is smooth as the headland and as remote.
She will not notice him.
And just as suddenly he’s gone.
Her neck acknowledges an absence.
The rainbow sail is down;
wavelets fawn, bright-fanged, on the beach:
the day’s a haze of white noise,
tinnitus of tomorrow.
Everything’s far away, is within reach.
© Jan Owen