Wind on my back, rattle of rain on hat,
Hissing of rain on sand, and beyond that
The noise of the big waves; and small and clear
A whimbrel's call in the din as I draw near
A roaring down the cliff and over the fl at
Hard beach -- an hour-old river I halt at,
My glasses streaming. The world is a bright smear.
Into a gale now, and the ocean sound
Drowned out by the new howling of the air
Around my head, then even louder pounds
The hough! hough! of my lungs inside this blur
Of boisterous air, cliff s, water -- startled mind
Along for the ride, body with its old kind.
For us who live here, the impersonal
Bright quiet gaze of that dying animal
Put rightly the relation of the fi t
And unfi t both, to that of which we're knit.
And once the indiff erence is mutual
Shall consciousness here in the individual
Turn with the whole? the light of light be lit?
I know I saw that seal dying his death
Half sunk into the sand, on the sunny shore
In the tide-wash: with each wave coming in,
The sand sucking him deeper than before,
The water swirling over his head again,
Subsiding, he catching another breath.