by Rebecca Gethin
People wander the shore looking to sea as though waiting
for a god to manifest, or a sign of an epiphany, an oracle
from the expanse. We stare at the jostle of isosceles triangles
playing leapfrog over one another before they collapse
on the shingle, sibilant and fricative. Plenty of fish out there –
a gulp of cormorants sit poised on what can’t keep shape,
their outstretched wings a black witchery of fin. Gannets quarter it,
strike it like lightning. After a pause they materialise, almost
gagging on their swallow, then plunge upwards to free themselves
like a shooting star. All water is of a mind to rise, the force
of waves pushing up from behind. A boom of a wave detonates,
spraying rainbows. Ground shudders. A snort like a horse.
Spouts of white spray as a shining hump back with a dorsal fin
arcs through the water, arc after arc, leaving roundels
of flat calm in its wake, printing stillness on the higgledy water.
Its winged tail lifts before diving beyond our ken.
And that’s when it seems the air is a hymn, the sea
a psalm in counterpoint.
Rebecca has been reading from her new pamphlets, A Sprig of Rowan (Three Drops Press) and All the Time in the World (Cinnamon Press) in a number of places this year. Cinnamon Press published her second full collection, A Handful of Water, in 2013 as well as her two novels, What the horses said and Liar Dice. She currently runs the Poetry School’s monthly seminars in Plymouth and was a Hawthornden Fellow in 2016. Her website is www.rebeccagethin.wordpress.com