(Photo from here.)
Sometimes you watch them going out to seaOn such a day as this, in the worst of weathers,Their boat holding ten or a dozen of them,In black rubber suits crouched around the engine housing,Tanks of air, straps and hoses, and for their feetEnormous flippers.
The bow, with such a load on board,Hammers through the whitecaps, while they talk;Junonian girls, Praxitelean boys, pelted onBy bursting clouds, by spray, eventually heaveThe tanks upon their backs, the boat drifts at anchor,
And down they go to the sea floor, by the foggy headland.At least, you can presume they kick the flippersAnd plunge to where the water is more calm. The coolInstructors must keep eyes and earsOpen. Accidents out there, they happen.
You might imagine scrapsOf cultural débris, a broken pot, a ring, a cogwheelCome up, clutched in a palm, and interesting,A wave pattern in it, the blade of a sword,When a lucky diver breaks again the surface. Time,Time and again frigate and schooner crackedBlown against the rocks, holed below the water line.
Even an inscriptionMight now be coming up from those green deeps.Yet the divers do their silent thing. On the sea floorExpect only the sea, a multitude of sand without an hourglass.Round somebody’s ankle idly it swarms. A diverHangs by a thread of breath in solitude there. Some go downIn all simplicity curious; to have tales to tell;And who knows, what they learnJust might, long after this, be usable.