Stephen Robertson

Slanting Lines

Shore

1.  Nonnet

Cold and clear.  The tide runs out, the creek

is draining back towards the sea.

Along the margins waders

scutter, scavenge—redshank,

godwit, curlew—long

beaks probing deep

beneath the

shining

mud.

2.  Sonnet

Cold and clear.  The tide runs out, the creek

is draining back again towards the sea.

Along the muddy margins, in the lee

of the sea-wall, around the bladder-wrack,

long-legged waders scutter, scavenge, seek

their winter sustenance.  Out in the bay

a seal watches us, then flips away,

dives deep, leaving behind a swirling wake.

Nearer, the lapwings forage up the beach.

At water’s edge the oyster-catchers, gulls

compete for surface scraps.  The beach is good

for all.  The redshanks, godwits, curlews search

for hidden treasure, long beaks buried full

to probe deep down beneath the shining mud.