Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Monday, December 20, 2004

Wave Psalm (2003)

I did not return from
that beach a sane man,
happy and free: the
wave that caught me
a dozen yards out
was greater than any
I imagined in my
cold rooms, and dark,
though at root pure
blue: It toppled and
then smashed me
in its marled collapse,
grinding my face in
all the sand I've
spilled from her glass.
Raw and bleeding
with a mask of
salt smarts, I rose
to strand that
vespering surf,
a man no longer
one of summer's
invulnerable verbs,
but rather that lover
whose cross of heart
crests and breaks
two million times
every day. My scarred
length is a vocable
of salt's insatiety;
each morning when
I spout these lines
they bleed an
abysm, a chum
for Moby and Maeldun,
a chorus of drowned
sailors at the bar
down below,
singing a la Roxy
I will drink my fill
Till the Thrill is You.
The pour of the sea
is too grand for
these cocquina walls
which never hold
back, much less heal.
I have no idea where
this poem is going,
yet such voyaging
is my oar and compass,
travail inward from
one sea's way of
knowing (all grapple,
anchor, harpoon)
into a wavelike blue sooth,
gathering up whatever
drifts in from
the next salt door,
holding it high
to whisk its white foam,
smash it but good
on the shore, and
pay close attention
to what so achingly
ebbs through my
hands. I'm milking
that sad long kiss
on a beach years ago
as it slowly fades
to a thundering hiss
of all I don't know.


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