Poem of the week: A Balance by Larry Stapleton

Waves hit the cliffs in front of the ancient Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, in southern Athens. Photograph: Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images

Waves hit the cliffs in front of the ancient Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, in southern Athens. Photograph: Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images

 

Each year, that bit earlier,
that bit later, the grass
is green and growing,
birch and beech are leafy,
and Persephone in their shade
watches martins and swallows
hawking insects on the river.

That her earth time grows longer,
an old bargain being honoured
less and less as the years go by,
could not have gone unnoticed –

Hades turning to his brother,
and Poseidon ordaining
a winter of storms, and with it
a response more in kind – the tides
to be set free, so that all the seas
shall rise that bit higher
and higher again each year.

Larry Stapleton’s poetry has been published in Poetry Ireland Review and Irish Pages