The Cleft


The sea slides out

on morning ebb tide.

The cleft is left smiling,

fertile with slimy life.


Spirals and ovals

of primaeval petrified shells

make mystifying marks.

To welcome or repel?


with twinkling cousins

on the Carboniferous rocks:

limpet, whelk

and periwinkle.


I penetrate

the folded, faulted fissure,

assaulted by the miasma

of salt and secretions.

Slipping on storm-loosed kelp

and lifeless purple laver.


In the dank chamber

wild one-eyed jelly-beasts

are meshed

with shells of every shape.

Prawns glide in infested pools.

Anaemic shore crabs scutter

amidst unstirred anemones,

and rank bladder wrack.


Nature’s paradigm:

stressed flesh resting

in this dry, hostile slit.

Between water and air

Biding time. Alive.

Waiting to be revived

when the climbing moon

draws the sea-cover over.





© lawrence reed 2022