We walk judiciously along the jetty,
Careful not to stray to the edge
Lest in the darkness we fall
And join the sleeping crabs and the seaweed,
Inching toward the beach.
At the jetty’s end there is a shelter
A sanctuary for those seeking solitude,
Watching the ocean in its many moods.
And there, beneath the simple, palm-frond roof,
Developed by the Arawaks to avoid scorpions and insects
The hammock morphed through shipboard use
And jungle exploration to become
Linked in the mind with lazy days and dozing.
Here there is no one to disturb us,
No one to walk the jetty, pass the time of night.
We collapse into the enfolding arms of the hammock,
Alone and at one with the universe.
In the half-waned moonlight
We can spot the Plough, or Dipper,
Standing forth in the far north-east.
And turning round, the North Star, too,
Seen low among the palm trees by the shore.
The air is crystal clear. A million points of light blur into the melé.
This is the Milky way.
Only a man-made satellite above gleams bright and steady
And stays there always as the Earth turns.
Out in the ocean before us the lights of buoys and passage markers
Wink and glimmer in the darkness,
Where the sea’s horizon is lost in clouds of night.
And ships too, bound for the Gulf of Mexico,
Brazil and Venezuela, skirt the refs and sandy shoals.
A gentle breeze blows from the east
But otherwise all is warm and deliciously sub-tropical.
We are alone with the bright, white moon and the wide ocean,
Insignificant in the vast scale of things.
As we swing gently in the wind
We become entwined.
( Robert Hanrott, Islamorada, 2011)