The Therapist and the Sea

Near the mourning beach
where palms catch the sea wind,
throw it one to another
like reckless children at play
in a game without rules or victory,

in a newly painted building,
on a street whose name I’ve forgotten,
the therapist said: ‘And there’s one
child who’s so damaged

I take him for picnics on the beach,
rides in the ferry,
walks along the jetty,
over the sea
chopped and broken by weeds
that wave in the current like hands,
only to give him some pleasant
memories in his night.’

Though you wake
in hell built by generations
whose agony none can measure,
let there be drops of grace
to cool your tongue: the sea,
songs of a friendly voice,
ships, a heron’s flight,
wings mending the sun.

Michael Robinson (Western Australia)

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