Saturday, 31 December 2011

On Becoming Foam

The children always expect too much of the sand,
And I, too much of the sea.
But the surface is unbecoming and so we sit 
With shallow lungs and anchored ribs - 
Demoted from the waters - 
Our strings in disarray; eyes tangled in an undone moon
That dribbles wax soldiers on noose-ready trees and
Blooms uncharacteristically on the beach,
Expanding like open-mouthed algae
To suffocate a sky of driftwood bones and airborne souls, 
Split by human alchemy and abandoned 
By milk lipped waves that fight us off with drunken tongues.
The water-people care not for our existence,
And know not of death. They end quite definitely,
Renouncing their bodies on the sharpest rocks, to become more than nothing
But less than something, 
A dusty residue lining the throat of a cold world
That hums itself to sleep whilst feeding on metal letters 
And pivoting on a broken foot.
The water-people disregard our colours
And steal to the surface at dusk with graveyards for skin,
Stone eyes weary of the lost people - the children of mud,
Who rise from the fog and line up along the cliff
To break the waves and escape their burden of ever after.
The sea-doers won’t help though... 
Hands preoccupied -
Stitching carapaces and seaweed skeletons to the hinges of their limbs,
Mouths sipping at the self-consuming lullabies lost in the ridges of shells
Buried deep beneath the footprints of drifters.
They dress in death and smuggle their trinkets beneath the arms of water,
To plant in the loam of nothingness where they rest their being 
And tend to their dissolution in song.
I admire them from afar, fluctuating on the tallest outcrop,
Sidling neurotically on a rock shaped like a horse and
Mumbling to the other rocks that tip-toe across my mind 
As we wait for the horizon to open its eye and swallow us whole.

I bow to the Princess of Japan, dressed in kimono dust, 
Crawling on hands and knees towards the waves
After shooting down origami swans and ex-lovers
In an imperial pond of broken conscious.
I nod to the cliff-jumpers, dressed in skin, 
Charging the blue and melting into the splashes of night.

And then I regard myself: an expert in dust,
A fossil coiled around the white teeth of Dover 
That bite down on the bitter sand and call me home
In a paper boat where I’ll crumble recklessly
And candle-like,
To become merely the sea foam
You’ll brush aside when going to drown...

very loosely based on the Little Mermaid tale by Hans Christian Andersen (the darker non-disney-fied version) or more so this particular quote which I set as a prompt many months ago - "We sometimes live to three hundred years, but when we cease to exist here we only become the foam on the surface of the water, and we have not even a grave down here of those we love. We have not immortal souls and we shall never live again; but, like the green sea-weed, when once it has been cut off, we can never flourish more.." - Hans Christian Andersen, the Little Mermaid