At the bottom of the cliff they pile up -
solid and lumpen,
the rocks that have been falling,
slipping down without reaching the sea,
the sea that bellows and smokes, breaking below.
In thousands of years,
you tell me from our vantage point above,
all this will be sand.
As we looked at the inlet
suddenly our perspective widened
and everything reversed -
we became infinitely tiny,
as though we were dwelling inside those gigantic boulders.
At the foot of the cliff we considered
the granular movements of sand,
the flotsam and jetsam,
and we took shelter in any one of those pebbles.
Shrinking, we felt the rough grain of the rocks,
a wall from which the sandstone is loosened,
the outline of ourselves.
Fractures and faultlines of the accretions of minerals -
this is what we are.
The detritus of shadows, the seams of grey,
begin to glimpse themselves in the sky.
Drawing breath once more brought back the pines,
the coastline, a path.
The literal translation of this poem was made by Gwen MacKeith
The final translated version of the poem is by Sarah Maguire
© Poetry Translation Centre 2004-2013