Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Salt Water

My sentence is not to go down to the sea,
which is only for pure of heart;
I wander where the asphalt is bitten away
by winter rains on the clifftop.

The moon is a mottled pearl afloat
in wash of milk: the long fluttering manes
of the white horses wade ashore
in wavering skirmish lines. An endless assault.

The generals fall off
the horsebacks and disappear -- it's only water,
after all. The seals' haul-out is empty,
and no whales swim.

I count them off on my fingers, each wave,
but the total never comes out right. I think
they must be right, that I embezzled
the salt water entrusted to me:

but what I spent it on
I could not tell you now.


carolee said...

the truly cranky forbid poets to write about waves & the moon at all.* the hell with 'em! i like this very much.

*reference to your FB post about this poem

Zhoen said...

Is this a riff on Sea Fever?

Dale said...

Zhoen, partly. Also on Keats' "La Belle Dame sans Merci."

Anne said...

I am so pleased with myself. I found both "I must go down to the sea" and "no birds sing". I know it seems simple, but so often I don't get it.

I really loved this poem.

Kathleen said...

Oh, I love your moon as a mottled pearl!!

Jayne said...

"--it's only water after all."