And we are here as on a darkling plain . . .

— Matthew Arnold

Sometime after midnight, we haul ourselves onto the raft. Here, at least, there is some semblance of stillness. In a few breaths, while I rest my head on your shoulder, we are one with the pulse of the sea. On a clear night like this, the only reflections belong to ourselves, the moon and the stars. And these are all flotsam.

vanished headland
rocks of the darkling plain . . .
somewhere, still
the grey grind of surf
and shale’s cold sting

of words unformed
of shells unborn
I roll my tongue
around mother-of-pearl

anemones . . .
how slowly red sumi-e
winds through saltwater
your breath on my neck,
your lips brushing mine

deep night
we cross a causeway
of moonlit shells . . .
touch leaves no imprint,
we return to the swell

and so we drift
trailing our fingers
in the wine-dark sea
until night, like the cormorant
dries its wings


Haibun Today, 6:2, June 2012


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Margaret Dornaus
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 16:08:21

    Beautiful, and incredibly sensual, Claire. To “:roll my tongue/around mother-of-pearl” . . . Ecstasy!


    • Claire
      Sep 19, 2012 @ 19:34:46

      Thank you so much, Margaret. I’m glad you like it. Yes, this one is special to me. Congratulations on your recent anniversary, by the way!


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