Canoeing to Cormorants

Stark silhouettes along the shore,
With medieval heraldry they crown the groyne-end posts:
On a field parted per pale azure and argent
A cormorant noir, wings outspread.
Dark solitary ghosts on island posts,
Or blown garments drying in a seaside breeze,
Motionless except for wary turning head,
Their hungry eyes pinpointing fish,
Alert for danger from the shore or skies.

Then, of a sudden, the startled, startling leap
Plunging headlong from safe perch;
The frantic flapping wings above the waiting waters
Till, in the nick of time, the laboured,
ground-effect, flat westward flight,
A foot over the sea’s clutch,
Then soaring at the hidden runway’s end;
A black Concorde curving up and off
To seek another vantage post
And pose again to feast
Another camera’s eye
Or poet’s pen.

Littlehampton
August 1997

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