View from

The Tide

“‘Where now security, what to trust?’/The cycle of an invisible moon has/Our harbor in its force, another period/Has begun: the existing limits to be tested.”

Ripple by ripple, the thin, shallow lip

Of the incoming tide encroaches

On this estuary of the harbor, hiding

The muddy sand, the stones—the glint

Here and there of shell or rubbish—hiding

All under a gleam of blue and white: 

The reflected sky carried as a film

On the smooth undulating corrugations.


So slight to see, here at its lapping edge,

This little curl of water—less than a wave—

Advances and retreats, and each advance

Gains ground on that before, extending

The covering colors of the floating sky, 

Merging the enclosure of what were

Heavens with the commonalities of

Earth, narrowing the ground of habitation.


As one encroaches, the other recedes 

Under the false immense above—nothing

True—the sand and its objects rising

And falling in their liquid refraction: 

“Where now security, what to trust?”

The cycle of an invisible moon has

Our harbor in its force, another period

Has begun: the existing limits to be tested.


Harold Jones is a New Zealander, educated at Cambridge University, where he was awarded a scholarship to read English. For 20 years and, more recently, another ten, he sent no work for publication, preferring to work at its development. His work has appeared in major poetry journals in the United Kingdom and New Zealand and has won the attention of leading critics and poets, among them, Ted Hughes: “I hear a real voice, a real movement of mind cutting through resistances.” Recent work appears in Merion West and VoegelinView.

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