ON THE EDGE OF THE
On the Edge of the Island
Wherever there is land breaking and an ocean begins,
whenever these meet, not alive, like a satisfied jig-saw,
one map, without wind, without rock,
without memories of weathers or of sons and fathers,
or of beaches in their death-frills, or of fearers and watchers,
there are always just a few who go back,
just a few who hanker still
for the peephole through the mortar of the will
that shows you you needn't be at all.
There, at the end of the uncertain road,
where the sea stands up like a level hill,
a lighthouse dispenses its marginal salvation.
White birds without names call and call.
(copyright Anne Stevenson 1996, used with permission)