Beneath the old pier, a hand scrapes
Wet sand into sketches, carving artistry from
Within him, pulling the crowd, who watch
Over the rail and throw into his bucket
Their coined applause. A metallic clap for this
Still life, culled from a husk of the sea.
A hulk of a man, never showing his face,
Bent over his work, he oscillates
From boot to boot. From hip to head,
A woolly thick knitted spine suddenly collects
Its wages and then with meticulous timing,
Vanishes, just before the ocean spawns;
A shifting glaze, through which
The artist’s visuals can still be observed.
His London Skyline becomes
The Underwater City, its muffled churches
Stifled by a pulsating angelus of waves.
The etched mane of horses and the wet fur
Of dogs, cats: these drown quietly
Under bubbling ripples.
And then surging from the deep, thick
Opaque slices, slabs obliterating
Each deliberate line. Mouths and deeply gouged
Eyes shut forever by the shapeless being
Lunging at the beach. Ordinarily incredible,
Hard to imagine, this liquid body being dragged
By its tail, thrown back in a heap.
Yet this is the way of it.
When the quiet industry of a beaten surf
Rolls out its shores of yesterday, as if…
As if there had never been, mistakes, fools
And foolish dreams, you could
Almost believe that this, then, is life:
A smooth unending slate – wiped clean.