Particles

Slowly the ebb tide washes over the sands,
advancing, retreating,
sweeping in, and drawing back
in endless curtseys to the shore.

Each grain of sand, each particle
of shell and stone, pricking the skin,
affirms a sharp identity,
familiar and tangible.

Here it is hard
to think of quantum particles
with their strange habits,
dancing everywhere at once.

The sea is restless,
but we have its measure.
The sand is shifting,
but is in its place.

Yet from the restless universe,
and in this small horizon
where I sit, are falling
myriads of particles.

All light, all energy, all power,
all form, all harmony,
are fused, infused,
and shimmer with their flow.

The deluge of them,
trillion upon trillion trillion,
transfix the body,
overwhelm the mind.

The dance is infinite.
The sea a whirling flood,
the sand a galaxy
of spinning molecules.

Yet what I see is unity,
the ocean and the land close-coupled
by lunar rhythms
under the warming sun.

As clouds drift by
the colours shift and change
on pools and rocks,
and all is calm.

Whatever the illusion,
I will stay and watch
the tide recede, and its gentle swell
wash over the sand.

– David Morphet 2002