Sharon Foulkes: ‘South Head, Venus Bay’

South Head, Venus Bay

See this rugged headland path, this high fortress,
now splattered and be-puddled by the latest rogue wave—
It’s never safe.

That enormous slab, shrubbery still clinging,
balancing half-way while shedding boulders down below—
Who’d ever know

this swell, proceeding out of view, carves a cavern?
Its unspent onrush ends in slap and thunder there—
We walk on air.

Each rank of water swells—arising, rolls over—
then foaming surges on as far as it can reach.
Again, retreats.

We used to gaze entranced, perched on “London Bridge”—
such insistent rhythmic power, iridescent spray—
It fell away.

As here, this hatchet-job, haphazard debris-fall,
splendid tumble of monstrous jagged bits untamed—
Nothing to name.

This place is never quite our home—time and water—
We seize them, ride them, float on even to the brink,
To flail and sink.

Rank on rank on rank of swells arise, folding over,
and frothing surging on as far as they can reach—
Again, retreat.

Around this pillar, through that cleft, over ledges,
in probing secret flaws, exposing hidden strength—
At last, at length.

While there’s breath there’s re-creation. Look beyond, see
a guardian, a stairway, one enormous bowl—
An ancient scroll.

Sharon Foulkes

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