The Wave and the Dune


         The wave-shaped dune is still.
               Its curve does not break,
            though it looks as if it will,

            like the head of the dune-
               shaped wave advancing,
                  its ridge strewn

            with white shards flaking.
      A sand-faced image of the wave
               is always in the making

         Opposite the sea's rough glass
cove, the sand's smooth-whittled cave,
            under the brow of grass,

           is sunny and still. Rushing
                 to place its replica
        on the shore, the sea is pushing

                    sketches of itself
        incessantly into the foreground.
All the models smash upon the shelf,

but grain by grain the creeping sand
            reerects their profiles
          and makes them stand.


May Swenson, Nature: Poems Old and New, Mariner Books, 2000.