He stands and walks as if his knees were tensed
To a pitching dory. When he looks far off
You think of trawl-kegs rolling in the trough
Of swaying waves. He wears a cap against
The sun on water, but his face is brown
As an old mainsail, from the eyebrows down.
He has grown old as something used and known
Grows old with custom; each small fading scar
Engrained by use and wear in plank and spar,
In weathered wood and iron, and flesh and bone.
But youth lurks in the squinting eyes, and in
The laughter wrinkles in the tanbark skin.
You know his story when you see him climb
The lookout hill. You know that age can be
A hill of looking; and the swaying sea
A lifetime marching with the waves of time.
Listen the ceaseless cadence, deep and slow.
Tomorrow. Now. And years and years ago.
© Harry Bruce, All Rights Reserved