Was this basin ever clean and pure?
Stones walls surround it now.
Pylons stride past a sprawling hotel,
as mangroves make their slow assault.
Cracked concrete pipes drain city scum
on to the grey, brown mud
where crabs scuttle, stilts stalk
and still life herons prey.
But the basin holds one secret,
a deep green vein
connects it to a riverfare
and somewhere out to sea
the signal's given.
The flow floods back,
past the commorants nesting in the pines,
under the high suspension bridge
and fast across the flats,
the shining sheen deepens.
I've seen the basin blue and laughing
at optimists chasing the summer breeze.
I've seen it shiver, whipped by autumn
Every day its filth's exposed,
slime on the rocks in the stream,
but unfailingly it's filled and cleansed,
faults forgiven, ugliness transformed,
and I envy this battered basin
its link to the spell of the sea.
Andrew Charles Dallaston