Like a fountain in a Japanese garden
designed to accentuate silence,
the soft furl of waves at lake’s edge
is as close to peace as we’ll come
on humid days of rainless thunder.
The washed-up spoils we find here –
the fishing floats, corks, edgeless glass –
are not much to shore against thoughts
which flit and dart like midges at the surface
and flense what calm there was.
Something culpable, though, too
in this liquid tristia – as if regret
alone amounted to atonement
for things which were never said
nor snatched by the havering breeze.
In the island monastery’s yard,
his unsearching eyes look up, half-blind
to the clouds’ dispersing vagaries –
and that, for now, is enough
or that’s enough now –
and God is once more that parent
at the side of the road, ushering
children onto the verge, away
from the traffic which veers up
and out of shot beyond the water.