Flower Cone

Something beautiful on the tide.
            A dark purpling quickfire
swirling on a surge of light
and beyond my reach.
           It stays just so, a finger away,
though it says such beautiful things.

The beautiful thing on the tide
deflects an ocean's yearning.
           It glides so deftly along.
           It stoppers engagement.
           On the invisible ebb of the tide
it will whirl away.
            On a perverse twitch of the tide
it will sway, it will dance away.

It is a slippery key to the world that I hold
in my fool's life.
           I was thinking:
so this is your enchantment
so this is your nudge and your wink
so this is how a fleeting instant
pricks, betraying the innocence of the wave...

Tomorrow I will look
for the beautiful thing on the tide.
           For the colour in its envenomed lure.
           I will see quickfire, dapple-warped,
then that, too, will vanish from me,
whirled away
on a random tide.

Other poems by Pete Hay

Sunset on the Irish Festival
Girl Reading Lorca at the Mirador San Nicolas
The Duck's Guts

Interviews with Pete Hay

Conversations: an interview with Pete Hay and Richard Flanagan (1995)
A conversation with Pete and Anna Hay (2003)
Island to island: an interview with Pete Hay (2011)



BEACH, Eric: Weeping for Lost Babylon
DE PAOR, Louis: Goban Cre is Cloch/Sentences of Earth and Stone

Launch speeches

MATHISON, Robyn: To Be Eaten By Mice
ROBERTS, Bruce: In the Church of Latter Day Consumers
SANT, Andrew: The Islanders


Half-Time with Stout John
Port Arthur: Where Meanings Collide
What I did on my Holidays
Notes within Shadow