Low Tide…

When he had had a good long rest, Algy hopped up onto the edge of the boat and perched there looking at the spectacle of the harbour at low tide. Bunches of stranded seaweed trailed from all the ropes which were secured to the harbour walls, and the beached boats listed aimlessly to one side, as though they were not feeling quite well, deserted by the sea. The tide was still running out, and the surface of the sea bed shimmered with a thin coating of water that had not quite drained away, and possibly never would…


On the other side of the loch, Algy found a battered old boat listing against the pebbles of the beach. He perched on the side of the wreck in the sunshine and gazed down the length of the great sea loch, far out towards the ocean, thinking of a poem he had read:

          One road leads to London,
             One road leads to Wales,
          My road leads me seawards
             To the white dipping sails.

          One road leads to the river,
             As it goes singing slow;
          My road leads to shipping,
             Where the bronzed sailors go.

          Leads me, lures me, calls me
             To salt green tossing sea;
          A road without earth’s road-dust
             Is the right road for me.

          A wet road heaving, shining,
             And wild with seagull’s cries,
          A mad salt sea-wind blowing
             The salt spray in my eyes.

          My road calls me, lures me
             West, east, south, and north;
          Most roads lead men homewards,
             My road leads me forth

          To add more miles to the tally
             Of grey miles left behind,
          In quest of that one beauty
             God put me here to find.

[Algy is reciting the poem Roadways from the collection Salt Water Poems and Ballads by John Masefield, first published in 1912.]