At Fort Bloqué

A stream has gouged its sharply-shouldered passage down the beach:
fresh water racing to be nullified in salt.
Sandpipers’ cartoon little legs avoid — but only just —
the curls of airy foam encroaching on the sand.
One runs before me, so unwilling to take off, it veers
round every broken wave’s last push of energy.
Beyond the crash of waves, the rising sea is lost in mist.
Rarely, a car with lights on passes on the road.
This winter weekday afternoon the strand is mine alone,
mine and the birds’. I’ve paced its length for thirty years.
Its local genius is to focus and engender thought:
‘Nothing you’ll do from now until you join the earth
will make much impact on the wounded, not yet fallen world
outside this solitude. Be proud of what you did.
Be grateful for the love and work you had. They were a gift.
To recognise what’s given is itself a gift.’