• Hugh Loxdale

Wandering Albatross

Slender companion of the arching winds,

How stiff you ride the truculent gale

On long wings;

How you glide

Just above the water’s grasp,

The deep turquoise,

Split by milk-white spume,

Torn to shreds by the frigid, rampant air…

You pace on relentlessly,

Coasting, veering, steering

Your rapid course home.

Never a glance backwards

Across the empty vastness

Of the southern seas.

Lonely, so lonely, you ply

This strange odyssey.

What do you consider all

These empty hours,

When even sleep is snatched

Between the troughs of huge swells?

What inspires you when you awake,

To focus on the shifting, unruly

Clouds above, the weak sun obscured,

Fog, the crescent moon,

Or the awesome, incomprehensible

Field of stars?…

On you wing your way,

Traverse the near endless miles,

Round the globe…

To test its endurance,

And its rotundity…

And then, one day,

Perhaps brilliant April green, -

The strong pastel light formed

In the east as the sun awakes,

Land is seen.

At first, faintly, shadowy, obscure.

Later, as the minutes slip by,

With the wind rustling past

Your crisp feathers of wing and tail,

Less distant, more solid.

An island, an amorphous rock

Protruding unique above

The flatness of the horizon.

Land of your birth,

Half a century before,

And land too of your mate,

Many days since last seen.

Guardian of that large cream pearl

In its strange raised nest;

Investment for your kind…

And all our futures…

Our legacy, yet a paradox;

As hopeless in its geometry

As a spent bullet,

Soon it will hatch,

Ultimately to yield

A being that even the Gods must surely envy…

Except for its prolonged, solitary wanderings.

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