Everywhere else has been pillaged and spoiled.
Nowhere looks like it did in the 'zines.
But it perseveres,
That 1%, oases in a post-oasis world
For all who remember things as they were
When 'desert' mostly meant 'Sahara',
When oceans were small and unambitious,
When not all green was artificial.
The most untouched of all is Urupukapuka,
Or, as some folk called it, Little Eden.
I don't get it.
She rises out of the sea - for I am sure she is a she -
And though she is modest next to islands past
The drowning man spurns neither tiniest flotsam
Nor weediest jetsam.
Oh, how the Sun lights her in the mornings,
First her bare head, eyes gazing at the Pacific,
Discouraging it by audaciously daring it to have a go.
Then her back, stooped but not fallen,
Proud remnant crust from Mother Earth's fiery table,
All covered in grass - grass! as unfamiliar in the mouth
As a foreign word - and not a gentle emerald dusting,
But jets of jewels streaming down her spine
Where it sits above the water.
Next the languorous rustle of her forested skirt,
Lightly swaying in the wind, where trees scurry
Up the banks to stay dry.
Urupukapuka's feet are already submerged.
One day the sea will come for her head.
Until then, capture this instant,
When the confluence of time and place
And sunlight and birdsong and the camera's click
Render the transient scene solid, factual rectangle,
Vivid, treasured, immortal.
Don't post it. Keep it.
Hold tight to the memory of grass.