Tag Archives: Ocean

A STONEBOAT STORY

A STONEBOAT STORY

Rough planks across two wood-beam runners
low and tough enough to tip a heavy rock on
or haul the cleanings of the stalls in winter

Learning to stand in loose-kneed balance
full speed behind fast homing horse
across the frozen tracks and turds
on the way back to the barn

Buff off of Oahu teaching me to surf
I think “Just like this”
until the big wave comes and says “Not quite”

INDIAN RIVER, ONTARIO 2004

INDIAN RIVER, ONTARIO 2004

Above waterfall
In circle of highest pine
green showers down

By the waterfall
body rests in hammock
cells rush to the sea

Below waterfall
power beyond soap and rub
washes off city

Lying by the bank
trees holding blue hammock
lift it to the sky

Indian River
Great Blue Heron stands
wise Tibetan monk

MARY OLIVER

MARY OLIVER

Of all the poets I admire
only one did I envy

How she could take us all on her journey
remind us of the wild beauty of our lives
and the soft animal of our bodies

It is disowned parts of us I know
that we hold to high or low

And yet I wanted to go where she could go

This year in the merry month of May
on a trip in search of other things
a book I didn’t know she’d written
in a town where I didn’t know she’d lived

I hung five days like her hummingbird
on the green wheel of its wings

Her flowers were my food
her town became my town
her dunes became my dunes

Sip by sip on that Cape Cod shore
I began to envy her less
and love her more

And that pretty green stone
I was taking with me
I threw it back into the sea

THE BELLS OF LE CROTOY

THE BELLS OF LE CROTOY

In the little village by the Baie
bells still wake you every day

And since not all the churches agree
we wait while each has its pretty say
then snuggle back for a little nap
because a bell is just a bell
and we’re on holiday

If we had really listened
we might have have heard them say

We are the bells Jeanne d’Arc heard
breaking over walls of prison stone
the morning of her walk to Rouen
and then never heard again

We are the bells Jules Verne heard
rattling rough shuttered windows
get up lazy writer and grasp for that pen
you have leagues to write ‘fore you rest again

We are the bells that the fishermen heard
on the mornings behind their names
on the monument to men lost at sea
heard last before going to sea

GREECE 2001

GREECE 2001

We take the boat back to Athens
cold and windy and a little rough

Dorsey lies down on the way

If she is Helen returned
she might again cause the launching
of a thousand ships
but she would not sail on one

I have an ouzo and man the bow
swells rising through my feet
feeling the eternity of the sea

When the islands are out of site
I still feel and could steer
by the shape of the winds

A Poem Before Holland

A POEM BEFORE HOLLAND

I travel to Holland
on wings of a childhood story
silver skates and finger in a dike

To lands wrestled from an angry sea
a sea that dearly wants them back

Unceasing vigilance to keep the prize
a dark line drawn across their eyes

I see windmills chop the salt wet air
Art and flowers leaping up in faith
behind thin walls

Back to the little boy and the dike again
legal drugs and red lights in the rain

These are a fair and sturdy people
I like them now, and I like how

In a land where children must
so often act as men

They do not pass acts that treat
their men as children

SALMON LEAPING

SALMON LEAPING

In the very center of New Brunswick

Half way between the equator
and the north pole

Half way up the river Mirimichi
Half way between the spawning grounds and
the sea the salmon stop to rest in quiet pools

As you watch, one or two or three
will leap high above the water, twist in the
air and splash down again

I asked the best guide on the river
and the best outfitter too
Why do they jump like that?
They said nobody knew

I suspect it’s all part of something simple
that has always been true
There’s just a lot of joy in doing
what you were born to do