And let this be a lesson, frogmen,
to those who return too fast from a foreign element, the punishment
is terrible. Terrible for those like Icarus
who believe theyâ€™ve mastered the other place
with feathers glued to bamboo shoots, or prosthetic webbing.
Sojourners, be humble
as the earthworm is humble.
He embraces the earth, lets it pass through him, he burrows, he eats
blind, deaf, mute. He knows the vengeance of birds, their iron beaks.
So when you rise in a cacophony of bubbles
through the oceanâ€™s unmeasured mass,
come back slowly. Listen
to your breathing.
Think of the half-opened door of the moon, how it let slip
men into its bare pantry.
Of the tips of mountains and their time-lock on life,
and be thankful for yours.
Â© Matt Barnard
Picture 10273738, photograph, circa 1930s, by H Armstrong Roberts, image copyright Mary Evans / Classic Stock
Matt Barnard is a poet and writer. His collection,Â Anatomy of a Whale, was published in 2018 by The Onslaught Press, and he has won the Poetry Societyâ€™s Hamish Canham Prize and the Ink Tears national short story competition. He also edited the anthologyÂ Poems for the NHS, published by the Onslaught Press. His website isÂ www.mattbarnardwriter.com