null island

Once upon a time there lived a man
On an island drenched in the tang of spray
And scent of pine where the forest river ran
Into the cove, in a rivulet silvery-grey

As the moon. He liked to pace the beaches at night
For sometimes he'd hear the mermaids’ emerald keening
Or see moonlit sea-horses dancing. He’d lie down and write
Words in the sand, delicate corals of meaning

Which the sea would lap over, maybe to wash up elsewhere.
Sometimes the sun drowned the island in shadows, untold
Fathomless depths, as though only darkness was there.
But sunsets turned kelp into riches of ocean-strewn gold.

On far-distant shores, a brave new world marched on
And in pools of darkness the white light of knowledge shone.
But the man just went on living on his quiet island.


Text and image © Jon Harley 2016