An earlier pitch of light
had turned all edges halo—tree, rock, child—
contained the change a moment
The pebbles banked along the cliffs
and scattered down the sand to the shore
are facing the falling day;
too many to be touched or known
except by passing air,
they sit seaward of their only gesture—
the shadow cloak cast slowly back
till the cusp of revelation,
that last delicious slice of light, goes down
into blue yesterday’s digesting sound.
While the breeze, light-fingered,
dints the water’s sheen to pocket
spills of early dark
all things are making their escape
into the nether time, certitude first,
with subtleties, always in profile,
last from sight. Listen: that other-century
sound of seagull cries.
What’s waiting behind all this?
Some quiet joy maybe, says Amichai.
As if they are a million doorstops
propping the unseen open a crack
the pebbles persevering from white to grey
sit put in such rapt humbledom
as the tide creeps in to round them down
in the image of their sun
(small exiled asteroids, sad moons)
that the tumbled glug and glottal stop,
the clink and crepitation,
all the blurred octaves of wind and sea
say suffer and live, suffer and live,
in pebble tongue:
opacity again and again trying to clear to song,
always almost ahead of itself
like small feet running on hope
just gone just gone just gone …
but then … what interest has hope
ever vested in finitude?