Unhindered, they roll from South America,
Swells traversing three vast oceans
To crash upon the cliffs of this small island.
Unhindered, southwards, the great rolling sea
Stretches far beyond the distant horizon
To Antarctica’s glistening whiteness.
Unhindered, the salt-laden wind blows
Unceasingly over the huddling heathland.
This is a wild, remote, windswept beauty.
Beneath the cliffs and above the surge,
At least on this clear, mild, late spring day,
Are crevassed platforms and a beautiful arch,
A great curving expanse leading to a pool
Of sheltered, exquisite transparency.
Everywhere the fur seals bask in the sun,
Argue over position, laze in the clear pool
Or clamber awkwardly towards the sea.
They are protected, contented and safe
In the place where once men with clubs
Cruelly hunted them to near extinction.
In one place, where the sea is most dangerous,
A narrow, steep cleft where the surging swell
Is a rush and retreat of foam- filled water,
A place to quickly perish upon unforgiving rocks,
Two young seals play with abandoned pleasure.
Out of the foaming surge they momentarily appear
In tangled somersault, roll and wrestle.
They are in no hurry to leave. In adrenalin-filled joy
They breach, surge, wrestle and dive again and again.
They are young, joyous and unafraid
And I think of the delight of toddlers
In a playground, the joy of swing and dip,
Or a child’s delight in climbing a tree,
Save this playground makes me feel inadequate,
A weak, thin-skinned, vulnerable being,
And my heart opens to these soft-eyed creatures,
For this is no carefully constructed safe zone
But the immense, cold, surging, cliff-pounding sea.
-Admiral’s Arch, Flinders Chase National Park, Kangaroo Island.
|Two young seals at play.|
|Towards Admiral's Arch|