Hugh Hazelton




on summerbed

breaking southernly

on the nightshore

wind lightly rattling

the blinds

from beyond

the whispering stars

swimming through darkwater


frog stroke     frog stroke    underwater

and then up ever up to filtering curtained afternoon airlight

sidestroking breaststroking crawling






the softswells of smoothwater

toward the offshore


I’d so oftenseen

off to the north

visited on sunspilt

young days with friendsandcousins

by rowboat

credit photo: Angel Mota Berriozabal



but now swimming

water splashing overeyes

sun wavering refracted

through saltdrops

the farthest I’ve everswam

out of the bay

its quietsea

on the outgoing tide

to the cove entrance

where someone is calling

someone who is that someone calling

a voice I know

who is she calling

the woman now or past

from the lastrocks

though no one’s visible

reaching out to me across air and years

was it anothertime


diving again

froglike           froglike

deeper into

the waving indistinct

forms of kelpstrands with podheads

feeling them brush against my armslegs

no they’re not wrapping around me

as I used to fear whenachild

I’m just moving through them

like anyfish

yes maybe I can feel their hands though

time to rise for airagain

back to the crystal surface

breathe deeply floating and then

return divingdown

the wrackfaces quavering

calling my name again

why have you left us here

down farther down

down as far as I can go

and still be able

to rise again

why have you abandoned us

we who suffered below

jetisoned our feetandhands chained

into the sargasso seas

listenlistenlistenlisten to us

long sea laments

why was this done to us

airagain airagain airagain

rising the kelp slipping

from along my legs



Credit photo: Angel Mota Berriozabal


backstroking quietly

hills to the left

gesturing to the island

harbour point which I’ve passed

the wind freshening

ocean waves now

seawater drying on my face

and the sun above

through the waterfilm

across my eyes

sun and waterbug backswimmer

like the flat oval insect I found with my sister

scissoring across the depths

the water dark blue now

just being


upon liquid beneath sunair

the crinoids far behind

their fossil stems turned to luckystones

my jellyfish tentacles

propelling forward

toward the rocksand island

where no ambulatory life yet lives

long before legsfeet and lungfish

hopped about in the mud

but covered with hardy plants

grown lush in summer

nothing here needs me

though I need everything around me

humanjelly tentacles sting and wither

whatever they touch

a medusa propelling itself across the seas

and coming ashore to an untrodden garden

with acid arms pumping out neurotoxins

into other lifeforms


Credit photo: Angel Mota Berriozábal



my limbs of stone

Perseus has flown over me

the sun is too hot

turn facedown quiet butterfly

waves calming as the island comes closer

pushing me forward

drifting on them because

I have to have enough force

to get back

the ancient pilings of the old lighthouse pier

rise glistening with algaecovered heads

from the seafloor

covered with fineslime

slippery as the eels that live among

the rocks once thrown down

to hold the structure

collapsed and washed away so long ago

where fishlive now oblivious

to the blind stone eye

of the lighthouse the keeper gone

a century ago coming in now

to the tiny beach flanked by boulders

of a rockscrub island

feet at last touching sand

slipping on rock


here I am

alone amid the sunwaves

breathing deep sodeep

lungdeep now after gills

the first fish to walk the land

lie back relaxing

on the heated sand

as long as you want

waiting for the tide to change

and flow to shore again

before making the tripback

if I can

I’m thirsty really thirsty

musthave swallowed toomuch seawater

did they know I left

did I tell anyone I was going

the voice that was calling to me

to come back to those people

still waiting forever waiting

looking seaward from the point

the cove sofaraway now

I’m tired but best to startsoon

now that the tide is running back

and before the offshore wind comes up

and the sun starts to set

perhaps I can closemyeyes justalittle

justabit quietly won’t sleep can’t miss the tide

just for a fewseconds fewseconds just


the dreamswimmer hesitates

forever coming up for air

on the bed of darkness

with stars turning swirling over water