The Cobb curves like a fossil, ridged and gray.
That sickle hook, which once held navies in its crook,
Still shields the town, and reaps the golden stalks
That spring in the wave;
Cliffs are sliced about the bay
Like Gloucester cheese (and the sea a bowl of pale shey);
These, and even the fossil shells
Uncovered by the tide twice in a day,
Immortal in clay their grave and their preservative,
Shall all be worn away.
That idling sauntering sea which suddenly shows its teeth in a white snarl,
That yielding sea which hardly lifts a finger,
Steadily swallows the cliffs of clay
(And the spirit wears the flesh away):
The trembling hawk, the trembling sea, hard on their prey.
Rocks at the cliff’s foot seem dead souls
Bound in these boulder shapes, with headless
Torsoes, rounded thighs and shoulders,
Bodies that would not take the mould
Of spirit, as though
The flesh for ever were only flesh:
Prone upon a forlorn shore
Until as small shingle all
Under the grinding tide are rolled.
Baptized of water and the spirit,
But not as rocks to shingle, not as cliffs to sand
Would we endure our transformation:
To move as light through water, not to be lost like a drop in the sea –
The body with the soul’s design
Firm as the ammonite’s but free,
And by its form, divine.
‘For soul is from, and doth the body make.’ Spenser
Anne Ridler (1912 - 2001) England
Source: The Student Room