Just revisiting my trip last year to cheer the dark days of a UK January.

Snorkelling, Peter Island. February 2015.

I lie suspended, spread eagled, hanging between the air I know

and the world all new to me below. I am a meniscus,

fine balanced, playing the surface tension,

suspended in the earth’s curve mirroring the surface.

I am motionless and washed by the gentle swell,

suspended. Gently I work my limbs, newly given force by fins.

A swish and I head in, expecting the first stubby sponges,

deepest russet red, giant hand corals planted on the rock

where I had left them the day before, planted in my mind’s eye.

Anticipation, breathing steady through the plastic tube and valve.


And here they are, staking out this submarine garden.

A lilac flat fish sails by with gentle subtle hues

against the soft cream sand. Angel fish trick the eye

with yellow band and rearguard spot, sightless protectors

to the little band. Astonishing jagged arrow fish graze the algal lawn,

pale cream and Art Deco arrow dart with  brilliant turquoise fin.

The  glitter of the damsel fish, electric blue and flat,

and tiny wriggly young, their fat pubescent tummies

deepest purest blue, with salt- crystal turquoise spangles,

fritillaries of the seas.


And back and forth the purple sea fans sway,

sieving the seas for all of time, and pipe fish roll

along the sandy floor in ceaseless swish and sway of swell upon the reef,

drawing me in. I am almost done, just revisiting each gem

in disbelief, imprinting on the inner eye.

A great grey grouper sails stately by

with pink and fleshy lips, impassive. I ate his cousin

the night before so wince apology.


And how would Darwin not have dwelt upon these wonders

had he seen, foundation of the origins of earth revealed

through a simple plastic tube and mask

and wondrous light.