Roman rock

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I run the cliff path
which I’m told I shouldn’t run alone,
but who’s alone when aloes
stand on flaming guard?
The fynbos is a potent source:
breathe in the healing potions of the coast,
infuse your bones.

There was a dassie on my doorstep yesterday
and though a seagull’s never on your side,
who knows what circles
out there in the deep,
or when the obscure restless surface
might be breached.

The southern ocean’s murmuring
a blood song clearer than the dreams
brought dimly through the glass last night.
Dream and breathe, on this seam of the world,
and run into your open self at dawn –
now, while this twisting path is yours.
Run strong until your lungs and muscles know.

And run for the pause on a lookout rock,
to breathe again
and see, where the steep cliff drops,
how a tuft of grass creeps from a cleft, holds on.
And there, before it levels out
to pebbles, sand, more gulls, crushed shells,
the nasturtiums spread their green-and-spice,
the modest confidence of homely flowers
opening to ocean, deep sky, life.

Hermanus, 17 May 2016


From The Leonids (Mariscat, 2016)

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