Two Poems

Robin Robertson

On Pharos

Four hollows and four seal-skins
on the beach, by a cave, their stink
undercut by the faint scent of ambrosia;
some tracks, of wild boar and panther;
the scales of a serpent; the hair,
perhaps, of a bearded lion;
torn leaves from a tree
when there were no trees anywhere near;
and, round a puddle of fresh water,
scorch-marks in the sand
and the signs of a struggle.

Seemed quiet enough now, though,
so we went and got our towels from the car.

Swimming in the Woods

Her long body in the spangled shade of the wood
was a swimmer moving through a pool:
fractal, finned by leaf and light;
the loose plates of lozenge and rhombus
wobbling coins of sunlight, heat-wavering.
When she stopped, the water stopped,
and the sun remade her as a tree,
banded and freckled and foxed.
Besieged by symmetries, condemned
to these patterns of love and loss,
I stare at the wet shape on the tiles
till it fades. When she came and sat next to me
after her swim, then walked away
back to the trees, she left a dark butterfly.