o sertão

from waves at sea
to waves of sand
liquid mystery
hidden land
never saw
a flower bloom
never left
a crowded room
in ocean currents
thoughts run lost
in terrain leafless
awaiting rain
only strong hearts
survive the pain.
Beneath the sea
lies too a beach
sand and rock
in swimmers’ reach.
Washing slowly
from the surf
silent, naked turf.
Earth and water
beneath the sun
appear quite distant
but live as one.

• The sertão is a large arid region of Northeastern Brazil, between the tropical Atlantic coast and the Amazon rain forest.

Dr T.P. Wilkinson writes, teaches History and English, directs theatre and coaches cricket between the cradles of Heine and Saramago. He is also the author of Church Clothes, Land, Mission and the End of Apartheid in South Africa. Read other articles by T.P..