Nothing but quiet air and the settling, breathing sound
of millions of tiny crabs, scattered like seed
over miles of puddled sand.
Soon I’ll hear the scuff and flap of your thongs
cantering down the long slope to the beach.
As you come to find me here in the heel
of the bay, half-submerged in warmth among
littered shells and dry, whiskery weed,
my blood will rise to meet you like a wave.
If afterwards we walk out hand in hand
to the pale, flickering margin of the sea,
don’t talk today—today at least—of the price
that’s paid for such a simple freedom, of how
we could never stroll, leisured, well-fed,
in our tee-shirts from Taiwan, swinging my
woven Filipino beach-bag, unless half
the world suffered deprivation.
Don’t say that if no-one’s to go to bed
hungry, all this — what we have, what we are—
must utterly change.
No, not today, Let’s walk in the soft air,
hands laced quietly together, our smooth bare
arms touching. Let’s smile in each other’s eyes
as the crabs writhe and splinter underfoot
in the long, murderous barrage of our tread.
© Margaret Scott