on icecream days,
when serene waves ripple,
tickling the sands at the frilled edge
of an ocean whose calm belies its guilty middle depths,
we forget the seasonal cheek of the moon,
and the sunken wrecks which fester
deep beneath the wet pretence of friendly skin.
when sea gleams flat, like glass,
ships glide as if melting a guiding groove
to slide smoothly through;
but should the mirror crack, giant breakers shatter the facade,
railing against polite behaviour;
rising high, falling hard, disregarding all that floats;
forcing fishermen to fight
for their boats, and battle for their lives.
blinded by salt, they bail water, lower the sails,
hurl jetsam to lighten their weight;
and they pray,
their frightened minds gripping children; mothers; wives,
the pictures slipping, failing in this grim reality
as timbers creak and oars stray,
stolen by spuming nature.
too late they recall that for all its base generosity,
they do not understand the morality of the sea;
and as timbers smash to flotsam,
flailing, they sink,
to be nibbled by that which they wished to eat.
the next day as loved ones weep or wait for news
the brine may shimmer and appear subdued,
shamed by wicked midnight games.
but sailors be warned;
at the behest of a tempestuous moon pulling at the waves,
whipping up a waiting storm,
it will rise again.
The Daily Post #Subdued
©Jane Paterson Basil