And tearing the crests off giant waves
While leopard seals are down there treading water,
Alert for anything alive and vulnerable,
And pods of killer whales, too, or orcas,
Cast about in the enveloping coldness.
Meanwhile in Berkeley Square the nightingale
Sings on as he has done since nineteen-forty.
They tell me the angels at the Ritz
Are backing musicals this year; our smiling
Cocktail maestro, serving among the mirrors
And strip-lights of the modish buttery, pours
Desensitising slugs for the well-to-do
And nicely spoken; they all laugh softly.
In a room off Wigmore Street some fiddlers
Practise the scherzo of a string quartet,
Berg, possibly, and a fragment of Webern.
But the Southern Ocean is still there, you know,
Far off, boundless and screaming to itself
In the darkness, with Paolo and Francesca
And turbulence beyond our understanding –
And still alive with leopard seals and creatures
Eternally eating and being eaten.