*Offing - the name for that mid-line space off the foreshore, just before you get to the horizon. Note: Do you ever reach the horizon?
Today started off with me grumpily vacuuming ... or as every true Southlander - which I do call myself - says, 'luxing (derived from the tradename for the vacuum cleaner called Electrolux.) Whatever it's called, it's no fun! However, come low tidemark, I was outta there. After dropping R off at golf, I headed for the beach with all thoughts of housework banished into the offing*. And the day slowly transformed itself into calmer tones.
After twisitng and turning into a knotted-up, twisted skein, this bunch of kelp has formed a perfect noose! Or, going by the dog pawprints, maybe a dog collar ...
The sea is a hungry dog,
Giant and grey.
He rolls on the beach all day.
With his clashing teeth and shaggy jaws
Hour upon hour he gnaws
The rumbling, tumbling stones,
And 'Bones, bones, bones, bones! '
The giant sea-dog moans,
Licking his greasy paws.
And when the night wind roars
And the moon rocks in the stormy cloud,
He bounds to his feet and snuffs and sniffs,
Shaking his wet sides over the cliffs,
And howls and hollos long and loud.
But on quiet days in May or June,
When even the grasses on the dune
Play no more their reedy tune,
With his head between his paws
He lies on the sandy shores,
So quiet, so quiet, he scarcely snores.
I have loved this poem ever since hearing it recited by a girl called Janet (who later became a very good friend of mine) in 1971 in the Dunedin Wool Exchange (which the Dunedin Teacher's College was using as a lecture room.)
I prefer the St Kilda end of the beach (as opposed to the more coffee-set St Clair end) for its drama of kelp and rocks.
The movement of the bull kelp in the water is a calming, beautiful dance of leather straps; coiling, twisting, floating, dipping, diving, waving ....
I stood on the weathered, lizard-skinned rocks near Lawyer's Head, and watched huge masses of the kelp slurp and squirm with each tidal surge.
There are more photos I could post of the rock pools and rocks; of a nest of stones; but I think I will save them for another time ...
and leave you with this croc washed up on the beach by the tide ... or is it a happy sea horse?
this sound of suck
this sight of bronze
fronds, as waves slap,
surge and each tug
of wave through
is like a comb through hair,
fingers through grass and the kelp
again sways as if
in joy or pain. Yet
surely truer to say
this is simply momentuum?
But my eyes do not want my brain
to think but just enjoy
these sounds of tongue
and throat, this grave
and beautiful dance.
Kay McKenzie Cooke