Precious Stones

Cold islands entice me,
like carved stone cathedrals.
Their single mountains are the
Exalted white saviours of our continent.
Fallen devils in winter.

Go South, where long archipelagoes
Follow the land's evolution,
Isles like shed, splintered tails in the sea,
Giant's vertebrae planted for war.
This is a horizon smudged by storm and salt.

The furnace of tropical islands evokes
other memories. Wild orchids swaying slowly.
Heavy, fragrant, ocean-scented fruit. Taut sails
in emerald twilight. The purge and bloodbath
of sunset.

Yet the old whale tooth amulet,
and the bright scarlet flower of the flame tree
Are essentially one. Only latitudes change.

Looked for on the horizon,
Islands lodge in sleep, conceive myths,
Are emeralds in all the world's languages.

Robert James Berry