Walking the beaches of Kaikoura,
you can see where the island
folds her hands over her waist:
faultlines interlaced like fingers,
the knuckles of her mountains
gnarled as an old woman’s.
Out there, unseen but meaningful,
cold water wells up from the ocean.
Fish follow it, with whales and dolphins
following the fish. At low tide,
seals stretch themselves
along the pebbled shore.
Overhead, long white clouds
arrange themselves in rolls.
There are languages lost in the hollows
of this land, like tufts of fur
caught in rough bark.
This place plucks at you that way.
The people come and go.
Only the mountains remain,
their intricately knitted chains
embracing cold clear tides,
against which all our urgency is
no more than the scuttling of crayfish.
* * *
EDIT: I'm thrilled with the finished image of "The Beaches of Kaikoura," in which dianavilliers has skillfully meshed my poem with her photograph. To see the collaborative results of cyberfunded creativity, go here. This is the kind of cool thing you can do with a poem you've sponsored.