They grind across the continental shelf,
enormous in their long, well-muscled swells;
I know their sweaty smells of staling spray
and fishy sand; and o, all by myself
I've heard the tide tell what it always tells:
some things wash up and others wash away.
They rise out there a long way from the beach,
and curl and pitch up face down on the sands
from roaming just too far to make it home,
and try to hold with fingers scrabbling, reach
for us, and fail and, failing, trail their hands
under water backwards in the foam.
Finally, though, the greyest weather clears:
small lapping waves replace exploding spume,
and one deep-breathing moment seems sublime;
sweet breezes sway embroidered window sheers
while pleasant sunlight fills the hospice room,
now empty, clean, and ready for the next time.