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DELIMARA BAY by Daniel Massa

Burly fushermen hurl their nets

In parabolas uncurl their white jablite floats

Straight unfurl their limestone-weighted webbing

To bait three miles of horizon


In the wake of the drift nets I slide

Head first as from my mothers womb

Gliding over blue-green algae

Heard the lure of the sirens guide me

Search search the rock-pools for our rock crab

And I swam out and down

Depths where men never squinted


The blue-lined pilot-fish I hate him

A thousand fish skimming round rocks in birth throes

Seaweed dancing rising


Till the chloroform stills the coryphene

Sheltered under floats forever hypnotised

And I said to myself

I have been here before

Before time lacerated the chalk heels of my friends

And they perished without trace

Before time shut the windows of my sense

Stilled the birth pangs of my race

Under the shade of the drift nets curling I slept

Centuries ago cradled in matrix of coral

In spiralling stalactites

With mollusc and octopi and grouper

Stood here hypnotised

Tackling aqualungs without perspex to my vision

Without fishing-spear to my arm

Whirling ages ago in search of bodily harm

In the depths of Delimara

And if in some alarm I should run out of oxygen

I think I could almost stay

I will not go

For these rocks and this seine

And these algae know

That I’ve been here before.

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