I have sailed on many seas.

I have sailed on many seas,
had my boat lifted on words,
endless waves of them,
weaving and firming up beneath me.

Early on the world was made of seas,
a new one each day:

the feel of dirt,
the visions of a ballgame on the radio,
storms of jelly beans
and winds of candy cotton.

But dark seas, too,
lashing and punching,
and me, lurching through it,
the sea was master,
and grace,
and the sort of loneliness
that sets your mind free.

I remember harbor towns in my 20s,
some clinging to the stony coast,
others lush, women with garlands and wet skin.

I jumped ship many times to find new water.

From sails to steam, from grand to a burning calm:
the best were the cold northern seas
fearless I was, made buoyant
by a throttled fear,
by pride and a fool’s curiosity.

The sea teaches you to swim,
to glide,
to be patient, to hunker down,
to absorb waves and weeds and dawn and—

I am lifted every day on water
insensitive to my minor dent
in the boundary between love and
leaving no mark,
save the wisdom of the line I carve
and gone.

2 thoughts on “I have sailed on many seas.

  1. This poem will rattle around in my head, pull back like a wave, and surge into my awareness again. Not every poem does this; not even most of them. I often wonder what is the common denominator of a poem or a painting that is timeless. I can’t tell you, but there is one stanza that makes me read it again, and think, and feel. It is your last…

    I am lifted every day on water
    insensitive to my minor dent
    in the boundary between love and
    leaving no mark,
    save the wisdom of the line I carve
    and gone.

    Like

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