From Fish Hoek beach

Adre Marshall, Fish Hoek

Fishermen, in slow rhythmic pulls,

drag from the sea this half-moon net

and spill its slithery silver haul upon

the sand; webbed in the tangle of rope,

a crumpled shape with matted feathers

and open beak, head lolling, limp –

an albatross, from far beyond

this steady pulse of waves upon the shore;

a knife flashes, slits the bulging

belly, sliding out not a mash

of fish, but a garbage bin

of red plastic bottle tops

yellow strands of string, and nests

of fishing line hatching omens

of our future – more telling than

tea leaves at the bottom of a cup.

This flotsam and jetsam of our throw-away lives

tossed out from boats, or washed down rivers,

swirls out to sea in plastic gyres

growing ever-widening circles of death.

In a sea with plankton ousted by plastic

confetti driven a thousand miles

from land, all is now sucked

into a whirling danse macabre

spinning us into this quickening vortex

as the gyres widen, ripple out,

and reach from ocean depths to far

beyond the mountain peaks, where

in time there will be birds no more, no

albatross, nor air-borne falcon to hear

the call of the long-departed falconer