We felt we were being watched
And turning saw an owl
Poised on a rock at midday
Still and intent.
There were grasshoppers
On the hill behind the beach
And damsel flies flickering
Along the water’s edge,
But for the moment
The small bird considered
If we could remain.
She drew everything to her,
Even the sea stopped moving
Then she was gone as if
She’d not been there.
The crickets and the sea
Were allowed to sing again
And the place
Was an ounce lighter
Now its soul had left.
These are places I will never see again
a Cretan square where paired boots hung in lines,
red wool on Marrakesh roofs, drying in skeins,
Cilento cliffs dark with umbrella pines.
There are others where I’ll never watch for dawn
or sunset: Patagonia’s Last Hope Sound,
its coscoroba swans, peaks of Matterhorn
and Cotapaxi peering over clouds.
Always, I return to a wrought iron gate
overhung each side by a fuchsia hedge,
a sundial grey-faced with Delabole slate,
jam jars and a key on a window ledge.
Far below, waves sluice over seagull trails
in sand, cowries small as children’s finger-nails.