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Wind and Water

 

Swimmers sink and surface between the waves.

From where I sit on the hot sand, deposits

of water glitter in overturned shells

with hints of mother-of-pearl, a smell of salt.

The waves plunge and break over the beached rocks.

Sea gulls dive, bank and rise through a spray and splash

of liquid garnets, jade and emerald mists.

Brief rainbows wash their wings in amethyst

until they turn, riding prevailing winds

down the shoreline. I follow one gullís course

his figure shrinks to a black bead, then rolls

down the horizonís blade and disappears.

 

His flight from here to that vanishing point

seems like a time and distance beyond measure,

the long sweep of his wings lost in a perspective

where my thoughts begin to founder and drift.

 

Turning back to the waves, their rise and crash,

their beating each other down, blue-green clarity

broken into frothing obscurity, Iím struck

to find this violence so reassuring,

so calming. Sitting here, itís sensible

that Heraclitus found permanence in this.

As durable as marble, intricately

textured as an agate, the water shifts

like lava flow, a geologic flux,

confluence of crude stone hammered against

our jetties into gems with instant polish.

 

What works, these undulating jewels, the jade

and diamond of our thoughts. These are the names

we give each other, these the old desires

for knowing the self, our age and origin.

They both sustain and stanch us, hold forth,

draw back, remake and offer up again

a heritage of yielding rock in which

the swimmers poise and dive, playfully tugging

at someoneís feet, meeting their knowing eyes

below the surface. Then, rising in time

to more than time, long glassy streamers trailing

down their backs and shoulders, drawing hands

through their glistening hair, they pause together.

Overhead the sea gulls circle and dive,

their white wings flashing emerald as they turn,

flying down the shoreline, fading and fading

into the horizon, flying so far,

flying so long as there is wind and water.

 

Michael T. Young

 

 

From Transcriptions of Daylight, Rattapallax Press,
© 2000.  Reprinted by permission of the author.

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