There is a geological principle of 'isostasy' which, dubiously summarised, suggests that if the pressure from above is equal to the pressure from below then where they meet is a point of vast strength and stability. This poem takes the proposition a cheeky step further, that by the same principle the tip of a wave might support our weight if we're missing a loved one across the water.



And another thing I didn’t say:
that the upward mass of a cresting wave
will always momentarily equate
to the average human being’s weight;
so that if your timing is exact,
your footfall strict, and you’ve cracked
the basic rudiments of fetch,
you can run across the sea from one edge
to another on a causeway made
of temporality and water. Please mind
to keep that close next time the scale
has got too broad to broach, the pale
well passed beyond; and come down then
against your coast to hear the sound of feet
come in across the rooftops of the sea.
This much is truth, in principle at least.

from Ground Water (Bloodaxe, 2004), © Matthew Hollis 2004, used by permission of the author and Bloodaxe Books

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