Your wall is as old, dimpled skin;
The hollows you keep, so snug to your body,
must’ve been shaped by cannon balls
All together I see beauty etched by time
Into skin that must feel hard,
Almost like leather, under touch
But your smell is fresh and soothing
From the water, the crystal water,
Which I hear lapping gently at your base
It lilts over my canoe, into my lap
I taste its saltiness as I wipe my wet hand
Across my stuck-wide open mouth
Your near-silent look of perfection
Is majestic, as your name; Halong Bay
Your sides are young and fresh now
As the sun dances its ephemeral rays over you
Junk ships glide amongst your walls
To-and-fro like fags in a water-clogged-ashtray;
Their sails shaped in such a fashion
That they were made to match your form
“Nam! Nam!” A sailor shouts, waving wildly.
The slight-framed hands of haste
flail like fish out of water, from his post up high,
As he gestures madly at his fellow
Who stands, looking bemused, on the deck below.
Back-light eclipsing his face in shadow.
The flailing sailor then dives to the deck,
Spinning thrice as he goes.
H watches in admiration
From her sea-level perch.
Her canoe will shave wood minutely
she’ll float by the exhausted boat,
Perhaps a little too closely.
But she is distracted
by ancient surroundings
Which were made to keep
time-old-secrets of fairies in their core.
How I do love you!
Your caves wink at me as I pass them
Their dimples twinkling a good-bye
Such calm, and such dignity
In your old and weathered walls.
Your grace and elegance wash over me,
Almost rolling smoothly
like the waves that surround me,
Planting seeds of peace in my mind
And in these, my memories.