There are days I don’t think about the sea;
weeks wash by in fact,
then a shearwater—or some such—flutters by
on the salt flats fanning out in my mind’s eye,
reflected there, a shimmering reverie,
recalling the pact
I once made (and renew today) to hold
to a higher altitude.
But note the difference between this bird
and me: a slight disruption or harsh word
and I crash, folded seaward, letting cold
whereas the petrel, mindless of such height,
scales each watery hill
that rises up, adapting to the shape
of each impediment, each low escape
instinct in it, the scope of its flight
fitted to its will.
Source: Poetry (May 2005).