One of our Submarines

Alistair Elliot

We met a school, a family, or, we guessed,
a little university of dolphins,
that rolled around us, looking up with interest
at the full sails that pulled us by so fast,
with a sweet tickling, not the rub of engines.

I talked to them, but what have we to say
to the smiling scholars of the Scottish coast?
I was rude or boring. They took their children away

into the endless heaven of the sea,
leaving the polite benediction of the blest.

When I turned back to talk to you, I saw
an Ad Reinhardt black-on-black over your shoulder
whizzing sideways: it was a conning-tower,
with mariners waving: just a friendly power
of nature talking down to someone older.