Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Baptised At Ebb Tide (Jan. 14, 2005)

I was baptised at ebb-tide
on the last day of my childhood;
the receding wave which
caught me there has ferried
me at last to here, a man
both of the shore-walking world
and of waters brined by God
with salt’s hard misery,
stinging every bliss with
a bottomless undrinkable.
Your ebbings have defined
my ways, always leaving
me alone to name the flood
which drowned every bed
I’d shored on nights before,
filling my mornings with
that empty dripping soft
blue door still resonant
with the cantakerous roar
which wakened in our kiss.
Each beach-song I
carve here is a nautilus
of your curvelike curse,
woven in the rounded way
you turned to me then
turned away; curvelike
the song rounds down
through the misery of
dry and drier nights
grinding down, like old
sand poured through
a wave-smoothed glass,
into these roundelays
of surflike refrains
upon a paper strand
where verbals wash, leaving
me at last again at the far
white end of every beach
you woke me on. On those
fragile magic sands
I leave this shell-seeming shell
for you to find again,
long after I have washed
out to ring the bronze of hell.
How best to return
the wave that bittersweetened
all with its cathedral
rise and smash
careening wild in foam
than to harrow full
the quiet draw in
every pre-dawn dark,
recalling every man
baptised at ebb who
drowned in love’s
reclaiming wave?
Such dead are like
seaweed at low tide,
green glyphs of
what remains, drained
and flattened of
their former flout
of spermatic equine fire:
Read me in that wild
blue latinate the
same tenor which
the selkies sing from
their black rocks,
of sea and shore
dreams inked. I am
a man long ebbed
from North Sea smash
where just the song
of foam remains,
stingingly unrepentant
in the wilderness
of that recede which
wombs the next blue
to drown the likes of me
in you.


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