Ardent on the beach at Rossnowlagh
on the last day of summer,
you ran through the shallows
throwing off shoes, and shirt and towel
like the seasons, the city’s years,
all caught in my arms
as I ploughed on behind you, guardian still
of dry clothes, of this little heart
not quite thirteen,
breasting the waves
and calling back to me
to join you, swimming in the Atlantic
on the last day of summer.
I saw a man in the shallows
with his hands full of clothes, full of
all the years,
and his daughter going
where he knew he could not follow.
from Swithering (Picador, 2006) copyright © Robin Robertson 2006, used by permission of the author and Macmillan Publisher.