As a child, to suddenly see a black swan for the first time, slow and silent on a small dam, was to learn what beauty was
and how shocking, how much of a thief, stealing time to fix me forever to that memory of a coal-black swan and its blood-red beak.
Enter the dark, stone underfoot. Imagine shovels and picks; dynamite. Rain. No sun even when it’s there somewhere out in the green. It took two years to build this tunnel. Smell the moss and damp rock. Listen out for missing trains.
Cars creeping up the sand. Wild hens in the sand dunes, their feathers disturbed by the wind. Watch out. That rooster looks like he’s about to go on the attack. Cars. Hens. Making no sense; out of place; on a beach with its well-behaved waves that have come all the way from Chile.
Water falling into white noise. A ghostly drape. The fulsome veil of a bride with no dress sense. Our niece Rebecca has lived in Holland now for years, a country where it’s so flat there is no such thing as a waterfall. She misses them, she said, even though as a kid when on road trips her Dad insisted on stopping at each one. ‘Not another waterfall,’ she’d groan. It was as if he knew.
Out there they drowned, so many bodies they had to bury them where they were beached. Then built a lighthouse (too late) so it wouldn’t happen again. Still it stands. Electrified.
Jill told us about her and Dave once tramping for miles to find a patch of clematis, only to discover upon returning home that it was in the bush all around their house. Clematis strung like fairy lights, stars, pearls. There. There. And there.
We used to drive over the bridge. Not now, the road going somewhere else altogether. Bolts, rivets, wire ropes and iron struts. River, mountain, island, stones. There is much to stand on. And we do.
The land sinks into caves Where the grass is so green It doesn’t look real. Falling into fountains of grass.
A western sky suggests the promise of air loosely tethered and space and light. Of breath blowing through the pleat of mountains. Warm wind through wire. Of opening out an accordion of sun.