Wednesday 30 September 2009

"A Century Find" from Richard Price's third collection, Rays

A Century Find

High up the beach, sea debris resolved in lines--
brittle black--dry seaweed and ribboned bark. That's

a stretching step.
We've gained the sand.

Footfall hallmarks the sifted acres.
We're goldsmiths of the shifting commonwealth,
brand in bulk.

Outpace the gusts and there's a rock to race to,
exceed. The tide

is lapping away (the force in gentleness):
we're the centre of all murmur--
no ocean can shoosh us.

Slowly, secrets. The confidence to confide . . .
I was, you were . . . I am, you are . . .


In your displaying hand a hard small shell,
offwhite, convincing pure,
drilled the once with a dainty calibre
(incremental parasite or shock-quick beak?)

Hard?--frail, sea-crushable.
Creature-perfected, capable
of a low whistle. Strung on silver,
the central jewel: a century find
to fulfil a necklace.

You throw it--so far out
it's still in your fist.

Richard Price
Rays (Carcanet, 2009)

To purchase directly from the publisher, please click here.

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