In these islands old men find repose in dusky limbs

or long walks skywards on the mountain tracks.

Between the coconuts strident monoliths shrill back the sun

and Jacob's Ladder twists between blacker rocks

the precipices already hung with eyries.


The silken sea is their exotic shroud

where great fish like living coffin nails silver the twilight.

Horizons limitless limit their horizons

to imaginary games picked up in India,

the long meditation and the vacant mind

etched like a lens by occluding fungi.


Here no man dies, old soldiers

live again under the skirts of creolines,

some make pretence investments on the stock exchange

winning millions in capital gains,

some move seaward ever trailing the questing line

while others drink their bored delight away

where sunlight glitters gold on sand and palm

unknown the workhouse or the cold socialist ward at home.


In these islands most of the birds are extinct