The Creature by the Sea

I saw a wonderous creature lay
a pebble on a sounding shore —
his voice flung wild in pain and joy,
as from his flesh the stone slipped free,
the mucus streaked with crimson threads,
he quickly bent and wiped away.

I saw the glitters flood his eyes,
as he stood and gazed upon the sea;
he turned his shining face on me,
then all my sorrows swam to him
and he ate them with his beard-hung teeth.

Then gathering up his staff and line,
so cautious of his ruined feet,
he crept among the rocks and shells,
while feathered bones twitched on his spine.

My heart cried out to go to him,
yet I turned and fled back up the shore,
in terror of this ancient one,
who potent as the timeless waves
and riven by such pain and grief,
still sacrificed his life and days,
to lay the pebbles by the sea.