The Speaking Page

By | 1 July 1997

When the tide moves again
comes up over
the point here
and spills
into Parsley Bay,
goes over
the river’s torn entrails –
your breath becomes
it heals deeply
then you
begin to understand
that the river
is like a blank page
you enter it
differently: shape
it as you would
a new thought
first vaguely
with phrases
then sentences
until finally
its language
starts talking –
when the river
covers a bay
you know its weight
healing the savaged earth
and the tide
begins to make music
as it covers oysters
as it climbs
over the rocks
its song fills the valley:
a baroque
tinkling tune
its lyrics
in a language
easy to comprehend
of course
it’s imagination
the river-song, your mind’s
is playing you
as the tide begins
to ebb
and you see smooth mud
cuts healing
and there is windsong
to dance now
with your voice.

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