An earlier pitch of light

had turned all edges halo—tree, rock, child—

contained the change a moment

then withdrawn.

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?

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