Down the cliff path, in morning sun
Sliding, we stopped. The beach had gone,
The clean hard tongue of flawless sand
Held in the mind hot miles inland
Clasped in the bracelet of the bay
Had broken faith, had slipped away
Leaving, to fret the assaulting seas,
A grin of rocks and cavities.
The storms, they told us at the store.
Last week it was. Happened before.
The spume came by like smoke from guns
The waves were lifting sand in tons.
It could be soon, it could be years
Before that small beach reappears.
Though times and tides you just can’t track,
What the sea takes, the sea gives back.
Look south, look north, the straining eye
Headland on headland can descry
And, drawn like glass, the thread of sand
Joining, dividing sea and land,
The wind-bent scrub, the dwindling roar,
The crumbling and returning shore,
The tireless waves, one life to each,
Taking and bringing back the beach.