How sad, o country, is the morality
of that rural fable
you gave us to read throughout
the centuries – flutes and rocks,
ravines and rivers, did you, by any chance, shepherd,
reap any benefit? Will you, old man,
find, youthful, your way
to the vegetable garden
after the lifting of the sluice gates?
Who will come in search of
aromatic herbs for the pot?
You’ll be widowed, o country, and till
animals speak again, your mourning
is at eco-tourism’s beck and call.
All said and told, what is left
is the most salty and sorry half
it heads for the seaside
and braves the waves
but, powerless to beat the current,
beats back to the sands in comical haste –
bottom-holed hulk, crustacean,
heroically sandbanked, bloated
Western surfing board.