At the Edge of Land and Sea – a poem by Jay Ramsay

At the Edge of Land and Sea

…where the concrete promontory stretches
out beyond the hotel’s civility
marked (still wet) with the imprint of seagulls’ feet

and in the heat-haze, the acrid smell of smoke
where something like the world is burning
but the waves are breaking, slapping, gurgling
as they have for millennia

…and this is the place we want to be
‘Come to the edge’ they said, toujours
not to fly now, but to breathe
into the greater mind that sees
infinitely more than we can imagine

A giant yacht parked by monastery island
including both, capital and spiritual
beyond our understanding

that the world is burning
and millennia have past
and the sun is still with us

…here so briefly
we’ve been here so briefly
the final millimetre of a mile long story
from milky fog and electric storms
hammering meteor showers falling,
shifting continents, as Earth cooled
what do we know ?

As God asked Job,
where were you ?

And what we do, what we choose
minutely mattering, alone as we are
in human form among the stars
beyond all our conceiving

A dream leads us on, then a dream fades
the blessing of the day remains
beyond the night walk’s drunken pain,
beyond the streets
where hell on earth remains

There must be a dawn
to a new time of caring
where we are the heart
we’ve been broken in:
our eyes awake.

A little half sunken slab reaches into the sea,
constantly washed by waves
enough for a man to stand;
enough to be here, to say I am.


                                                Paxos Beach Hotel


Jay Ramsay, who co-founded Angels of Fire in London in 1983 with its Festivals of New Poetry, is the author of 30 + books of poetry, non-fiction, and classic Chinese translation (with Martin Palmer) including Psychic Poetry—a manifesto, The White PoemAlchemy, Crucible of Love–the alchemy of passionate relationships, Tao Te Ching, I Ching—the shamanic oracle of change, Shu Jing—the Book of History, The Poet in You (his correspondence course, since 1990), Kingdom of the Edge—Selected Poems 1980-1998, Out of Time—1998-2008, Places of Truth, Monuments, and Agistri Notebook (both 2014). In 2012 he recorded his poetry-music album, Strange Sun. In addition, he’s edited 6 anthologies of New Poetry—most recently Diamond Cutters—Visionary Poets in America, Britain & Oceania (with Andrew Harvey:, as well as many collections for other poets, also under his own pamphlet imprint Chrysalis Poetry. He’s also poetry editor of Caduceus magazine, working in private practice as a UKCP accredited psychotherapist and healer, and running workshops worldwide (

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