Stephen Robertson

Slanting Lines

Sharp lines

High overhead, the geese are flying out

on their twice-a-day migration between feeding grounds

in lop-sided vees and slanting lines,

dark against the sky.

Ahead, another line,

flat and sharp and natural too:

pale sky encounters dark sea.

On the sand, a scattering of razor shells

that would be sharp if our toes were bare.

Behind us, in the wood,

tall straight pines reach for the sky,

dark trunks against the blue,

shed long thin needles.

In the distance,

gnarled broadleaf trees with twisted limbs

shed leaves with perfect sculpted edges.

A bramble sends great arcing shoots,

strong curves lined with jagged thorns,

seeking new ground to conquer.

Spiders’ webs among the undergrowth.

Look closely: precise angular spirals

strung around precise radial anchor lines.

Across the channel, tidal creaks

meandering through the marsh

carve out sections of bank

leaving sharp cliffs of compacted mud.

Evening.  A great dark cloud

fire-edged, blots out the setting sun.

Later, the clouds amass:

watch now: if you blink you will miss

the instant jagged challenge passing between them

or down to earth.

Seconds later, over the drumming rain,

a sharp wall of sound.

Later still, after the storm has passed

lie back on the wet beach

and watch the stars emerge.

Sharp dots; but watch and do not blink.

In time, an instant dash:

a shooting star.

To the sharp senses, nature has many sharp lines.