Francis Scarfe

(1911-1986 / South Shields, England)

The Grotto


The sea still plunges where as naked boys
We dared the currents and the racing tides
That stamped red weals of fury on our thighs,
Yet did not know our first love was the sea
That rolled like colts between our shining knees,
While under us the sands in golden curls
Coiled round our bodies like the plaits of girls.

We came oblique to passion on that shore
Identified with our blind will to danger,
As when we explored the slipping walls of caves
Booming with dark more fearful than the waves
Whose silence magnified the heart's deep roar
Till senses beat that were asleep before,
And in ourselves we recognized a stranger.

Or when we scaled by Frenchman's Bay the cliff
No man has dared though boys there in the night
Still prove their manhood on its hostile side
That was our climb from innocence to life;
And yet, if I could be there once again,
My love, I'd pause amazed among the gulls,
Afraid of both the triumphs and the falls.

In sea and grotto where we found our hearts
Our youth remained, and all our days return
In dream and vision to the mocking sea
Where womanhood and manhood proudly stirred
Within our silence like a singing bird,
And never a dawning day will break as pure
As our grave adoration, immature.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 21, 2010

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