Hearing shingle explode, seeing it skip,
Crow sucked his tongue.
Seeing sea-grey mash a mountain of itself
Crow tightened his goose-pimples.
Feeling spray from the sea’s root nothinged on his crest
Crow’s toes gripped the wet pebbles.
When the smell of the whale’s den, the gulfing of the crab’s last prayer,
Gimletted in his nostril
He grasped he was on earth.
He knew he grasped
Of the sea’s ogreish outcry and convulsion.
He knew he was the wrong listener unwanted
To understand or help -
His utmost gaping of his brain in his tiny skull
Was just enough to wonder, about the sea,
What could be hurting so much?
I write this with no sense of schadenfruede. Ironically enough, as I sat on the back door step next to the barbecue cooking a chicken for dinner, I watched two pigeons on a neighbour's roof. One was attempting to mount the other . . .
On a beach in Gytheon last week we sat looking out to sea after a pleasant meal in the taverna behind us. I had just finished off a plate of about a dozen small sardines beautifully grilled. We swam for a while before we had to head off to catch the boat. As we were drying off in the sun, our gaze wandered across to a couple who had also been dining in the little taverna. We recognised them as being on the same trip as us as he had often been posing around the swimming pool showing off his semi-Illustrated Man physique. They were a lot younger than us and had swum out a little way away from the beach presumably to cool down in the sea.
Being young and presumably in love, they got quite close. "Are they . .?" asked Mrs Dave. I replied in the affirmative without adding the mental "lucky b. . . " so we averted our eyes. We've all been there. We were all young once. As it was a small beach on the edge of the little town, it was difficult not to be aware that there was the possibility of passion being aroused in that direction - presumably just far enough away from their mothers who were sunbathing near us.
A while later as I looked back in their direction, there seemed to be some commotion. The female member of the duo was now standing on the beach whilst the male was rushing around the beach. He ducked down and did some press-ups in the gently lapping sea as it came up to the shore. That seemed a bit bizarre. Then he ran away behind some rocks. Then a moment later he came back bending up and down as one who is in great pain. He held an arm out and indicated that his partner should stay away from him.
By now we were rather fascinated with this passion play that was unfolding before us.
The lady came back to talk to the two older ladies and told them something - unfortunately we were a little way off from them but they appeared to be Italians. We wouldn't have understood anyway. However, the young man in question didn't seem to be feeling much better. He had changed his trunks by then though. He had a more capacious pair on that perhaps were a little more airy around the legs. They were gently flapping in the breeze.
We had to leave fairly soon. But back on the boat - a small tender to get us to the ship we were travelling on. The couple sat fairly near us. Well, I say 'sat' but the girl didn't sit - her legs appeared horrendously red as though stung possibly by a jelly fish - perhaps she'd squashed one? There was a lot of kerfuffle going on and the guy still looked remarkably upset. Lots of anguish in his facial expressions. They were allowed off of the boat first and quickly taken away to be met by some medical people.
We never saw them again for the rest of the week. We never learned what had actually happened and it means we have to fill in the details ourselves. As an English teacher, I often try to get students to understand that good writers should show and not tell.
I wonder how he explained to the doctor how he had got so badly injured? But I bet it put them off drinking cocktails like Sex on the Beach forever.