An old-fashioned poem to my daughter Rosie on her wedding day, to accompany the gift of a exquisitely prepared trilobite fossil 450m years old, from the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.

Long ago, in ages grand
I fell through midnight seas so cold
Sank beneath the crushing sand
And turned into this stone you hold.
Buried deep, through countless time
I, creeping, rose to mountains high
Until the day of the hunter’s climb
Which laid me bare to human eye.
If you should make each other weep
With broken words, and miscontend,
Think of the time I lay asleep
Remember your own brief time, and mend.
And through all the days when love will flow
With blessed joy and caring kiss
Keep me near, our love to know –
Your friend Eliza and your father,

Port Charles 15th May 2010. 3.00pm last hour of the incoming tide.

I cast straight for the Barrier
Into a ripping nor’easter.
The trace drops clean
Three squidded flasher-hooks streaking for the fish behind a tank-busting sinker.
Aaah, Yes.

Away on the lee shore three little boats point stoutly into the wind
Like mechanical cows on a pasture of a green
So utterly not that of the emerald paddocks framing the bay
Luminous between the soft greys and blues of a scud-clouded sky
And the burnished green of that vast paddock of oceanic combers
Running with wind and tide
Spent from their long roll from who knows where
Like godwits from China
Almost asleep
Shrunk to knee-height
But ever beautiful, holding their swing and keeping time to the end.
Finally they stream across black diamond lava reefs
Bubble down through those giant peninsula pebbles
And sough to nothingness.
What stories they might hold
Never to be told.

Not a bite. Not a nibble.
Aaah, Yes.

I carry a small piece of treasure
To take out and look at from time to time
And marvel at and be grateful.
This is one of these moments.
What is it?
It is the knowledge that I am a saved man.
So recently a wreck, a hulk
Not so much rejected as abjected
Left in a sewer of alcohol and stupefactants
Dumbly sinking out of sight
All of my own bitter accord
Now transformed as if overnight to my original design and specifications
Restored in a trice
And cracking along under full sail before a sweet breeze with a nice bump in it.
Deo Gratias.

Now, I really wouldn’t mind a nibble.
Oh well. No dice.
Aaaah, yes.

Three nights later the full moon rises over the far ridge
Framing in silhouette a great pine tree.
Its light spreads a carpet of sparkling yellow tourmalines right to my feet.
Full moon, no fish. Common knowledge.
Purely as homage I cast straight into the jeweled sea.
Within minutes I land a fat trevally
A meal for me alone, gift from this surprise moon, never before seen.
For the first time in my long life,  in place of that old sailing ship calling me away, always away
I see the beaming happy face of the storybook moon.
It says “You’re home. Stay. Be happy.”

So I am happy, happy as a storybook moon.