Tag Archives: wasteawareness

The Tidal Man

seasalter

There was life, it seemed, in the Estuary
the flats blistered bubbles that rose and burst like gasps
brackish pools guarded poking razor clams
and whispering whelks
gulls paddled respectfully around the lumpy porpoise
I shielded my eyes
tapped a stone in time with their crys
saw the lumpy porpoise nudged by rising tide
like wrung and twisted Estuary birds afloat by fruitless oyster beds
or upturned silver bellied fish staring at rusty trawler hulls

Men lamented and called it monster
their rage and blame lay with it
some claimed to have seen the thing
named it Reaper of the Seas or The Tidal Man
I waited and watched
tapped a stone upon another
listened beyond crying gulls and reluctant waters
listened, watched and waited for the roar of The Tidal Man
because monsters roar and scream
as men believe they can

Inky horizon swallowed the day
home awaited my bucket of clams
with a fury fuelled by fears and another empty table
My footsteps dragged, rolling brine tagged my heel
these shoes would be wet again
A hollow vessel hauled in slow
it creaked and crunched upon the shore
I faltered, toppled
something held my ankles fast
shingle pits sunk my feet
struggling whirlpools swept me down and soaked in foamy wash
I prayed
beneath salty cascades and translucent gaze
of the monster men called
The Tidal Man

Ankles shook free, my courage came angry

“Our waters have gone quiet, our rivers choked and clogged
we have no food, no livelihood, we beg you please, just stop!”

Dredged in silence
garlanded in knotted lines and lost lives
The Tidal Man crashed a mangled fist upon the shore and was silent no more

“I am your thoughtlessness, your negligence, your naivety
I am the discarded, the blind eye, I am your complacency
I am your offspring, your discovery, your ingenuity
I am as human as I am human-made
But I am strong; stronger than you
I will travel a billion tides; grow through the oceans I wade
I will live on this earth for hundreds of years
Your alien.  Your fate.  Your hunger.  Your tears.”

Cascading salty, The Tidal Man drew up to a terrible height
my wide eyes feared the sight
for every cell was made by man
I scrambled for my bucket, crawled upon my knees
fled for home to fury fuelled by fears

“It comes!  It comes!
The Tidal Man will destroy the land
the oceans and seas
and destroy Man
we must do something, we must be afraid
because this is the monster that we have made!”

A rabble, an army, marched into the dusk
sirens and floodlights, battalions and arms
to rage at the giant, destruction in mind
a squabble of fists, flamed torches held high
Dredged in menace, The Tidal Man rose

“Burn me down and your disease will be great.
Bury me deep and the poison will seep
Pull me asunder, the world cannot wait
Scatter me far, and all is too late.”

Too sorry to say it, too ashamed to admit it
the rabble drove the giant back to the water
and in the squabble of fists and waving of flames
I rushed through, my clam knife drawn ready
waded deep to my thighs; tore my voice from my throat

“This is the monster that we have made
find me at dawn, do not delay
we must do something, we must be afraid!”

I caught hold of the giant, dragged myself onto its back
floated far from land and out of sight
lungs burst, blood rushed
my clam knife worked in earnest
we travelled the tides
The Tidal Man and me
without a word
without knowing the other’s victory

***

A mangled fist served as my raft
by the time the trawlers found me
nets cast wide across the sea
they thought their task would be easy
I was hailed champion, a brave boy
with each piece they hauled in
and there’s life, it seems, in the Estuary
the flats blister bubbles that rise and burst like gasps
brackish pools guard poking razor clams and whispering whelks
I go collecting clams, my bucket nearly full
and every day I find, translucent on the shoreline
pieces of the monster that men call
The Tidal Man

 

words Anna Ghislena 2017

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