Leaving, we took the path
of least resistance, paved and prone to floods;
returning now, we tramp through mud
to lawns awash with silt.
The walls we never mended here,
the banks we never built,
have left us bare. The life
once tended here, its honed and hard-won peace,
these currents with relentless ease
uproot; by tide and gale
their dirgeful, darkly rising mass
makes light of human scale.
We come, beyond the veil,
to see at last the dire state we’re in;
and hear, above the deluge-din,
how ancient chimes are raised,
parochial claims now calling time
on these unsettled ways.
We used to know, they say,
how to withstand as one the surge and flak,
to hold our own and others’ backs
and face the charging rain;
yet now, with levels rising fast,
we need to learn again.