Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Rowing Out, Comng Home (today)

All the while I’m rowing here
I’m really shoring home,
finding the beloved that I seek
fast asleep upstairs,
my ache housed in a
real-time reliquary love
well-fashioned as it yearned.
Marriage is the most
difficult voyage of all:
its early nights of storm
and foam reined down
from that high fire,
that heat translated,
ploughed and distilled
down the years to able
harborage, garden bed
and living room the
bounds of a margeless
abbey where we work and
talk and take our
medicines groaning
over headaches and other
pains split by the nails
of the life we’ve chosen
and love the deepest.
If this pad rows a
sourceless flow of
wild and utter blue,
never to quite find
or kiss the lost
bedazzlements of you,
the lap it rests upon
is an aging strand I
can no longer leave, each
grain of its sand so
familiar I have almost
named them all, and count
them daily in high
gratitude for having fallen
through the glass of
years to this stable,
settled time. I dreamed
last night of playing
in a band again with
older wiser folks (not
angry young romantic
boys but lovers of
the life). I showed them
the hooves and technics
of that anthem “Change”
which fired my longing
most of all -- “relentless”
was my word for that
hardest-pounding surf,
and as I played the
song again on a guitar
I’ve haven’t held for years,
again I felt my sails
sails fill up again with
the wildest winds I’ve known.
And yet the song was
sere and burnished
by the years, no longer
a blade to hold the
other, so wrong way,
but one to hang above
the mantle of a hearth
where homeward fires
warm the bones of one
who sailed too far and
turned back harrowed
and haunted, his hold
empty but for the bursting
ache which never found
you ever again, an ache
which could do no more
than marry and settle
down. Old salt I sprinkle
here so I can go up there
and love my wife & life
& its endless strife with
all the ocean in my heart.
I suspect if I paddle hard
to the end of every poem
with every urgency
to derrick from that old song,
something of it warms
this hand enough to
ferry a few grains of
sea-gold from
one life to another.
Come first light I
will stroke the soles
of my wife’s feet,
one then the other,
the covers warm
as summer sands
& the cat at our feet
purring on the clear
blue mordents of
that long-drowned
surf-pounding band.


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