On this stony beach with its undertow of sand
the outcrops of peat are trees from another time
that the retreating sea reveals. At the tideline
they flock, lined up for a while along the edge
bobbing into and over the breaking waves
then gathering and rising as one into air,
dropping further along the beach to line up again.
Listening for the notes of Rhiannon’s birds, that refrain

far out on the horizon, I catch, closer, the sanderlings’ song,
an intermittent liquid sharpness through the hiss of the sea.
So it’s here that the enchantment is, on this beach
where I stand between worlds of rock and water,
in the half-heard call of birds from far arctic tundra
wintering on a coast where time ebbs under.

“…far out over the sea, their song was clear as if they were with them”
The Birds of Rhiannon