The beach is like a battlefield, its sand

Covered with bodies stretched out in the sun,

Some in grotesque positions, some asleep,

As if some monstrous child with peevish hand

Had thrown its counters down when play was done ;

Or yet as if convulsions from the deep

Had cast its rainbow fish upon the land.

From the near height it seems a mantle spun

And spread to dry, and in the sun to steep,

That hems the bay with a bright orient band.

What though the skin may smart, the bare back burn?

That is to worshippers a modest price

To pay.  Here is ungrudging sacrifice

To the most ancient god for whom we yearn !


Weekly Times      31.8.62