Tuesday poem – Retreating

Waitarere, July ’09

I leave the light on, turn down the fire

but get lost anyway.

I choose a large dark log as a reference point

but everything is dark.

The moon highlights the whitecaps

of my sneakers

but it’s too close and untethered

to rely on as a guide.

Drift wood, piles of seaweed or washed up corpses?

Hoof-marks, footprints,

tracks left by the retreating tide.

Tyre marks of an all-terrain.

Next time I’ll draw an arrow on the sand

that palimpsest of names

hearts, initials, pictures of boats

arrows pointing every direction home.

Explorers who crossed whole oceans

must have tuned their eyes so finely

to notice each shift and twitch of starlight,

like trying to read crushed pipi shells

strewn on flat winter sand.

© Saradha Koirala 2009

Tuesday Poem

3 thoughts on “Tuesday poem – Retreating

  1. Yes, this is every dark NZ beach – the dark log, the ‘whitcaps’ of the sneakers (love that bit), the pipis, the ‘flat winter sand’ – very evocative. And I am in love with the phrase ‘twitch of starlight’ … Thanks Saradha.

  2. Hi Saradha – “Retreating” has me wanting to pitch a tent on a dark, unpopulated stretch of coast. I especially love your closing lines “… like trying to read crushed pipi shells / strewn on flat winter sand.” Looking forward to reading more of your work. Thanks. Claire

  3. I liked reading about arrows in the fourth stanza, and relating it to the beginning of the poem. The one who got lost, now intends to point others home. 🙂 Cheers.

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