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III.Haven

 

Nor alone in keelís slash and sea-cleft

it sheers a course from haven to wine-galled

shores where we heave the murmur of skins

to lips long blown blood-dry from prayer

to have our hopes drummed, basted by

water that cuts at breath and muscle zeal.

And on in bolt of surf to stern, light

still on the laughing sea, though meniscus

filled, and the cargo slips beneath the deck,

the haul of it a hum across the staves,

that lifts our tongues to word and ring of it

as a shout in cauldron. Our bodies are bared

to the burst of wave and the stun of surge

about our bows foundering as private echoes

demand to be named;and we cleave side ofrock

and saliva slots in saying:a third is risen

among our company, dreaded as they that dwell

therein, and more moves with light on

prow-whet dorsal curve in the swell,

then swirls back from sheen to gaping white

gulp of sea-love and the sour of it all,

then flows away and flickers on its crests.

The wise within join breast to breast

and breath tides from mouth to mouth

as the wake turns below us in a diagonal drive

up and forward to the teeth-bared sea.

 

Too long in light of the storm sails veer

to the roadsteads broken open to the wind

that calls us to return and come home.

But up on sigh of shale, over shoals

we cast the wares in scales that will not tip.

There we sat down and wept, cleaving tongues

would not forget thee and the waters where

points of light bob on throat-eased deep.

 

Should not memory grow among these

bitter herbs, pushing against the gush

of salt-lipped wash?

 

††††††††††††††††††††† There with them too:

Our arms whose cunning ebbs with the wait

along the rush-smudged littorals while

we cache the cargo and attend the weight

of night above the shingle and sing hymns

to the wind about our empty rigging.

And there hidden in the vent of bluffs

it persists and daily fissures spread

in rock and our breath is measured by

its beat against the cliffs.

†††††††††††

††††††††††††††††††††† And with you then

we sailed to find a home, build cities

and kill unnamed fear as in water-caves.

Here with the lamina, our necessity;and there

in shoreline caverns the cargo waits

beneath charnel, bound by the bell of surge

and become a fish-ferned ossuary of gulls.

 

††††††††††††††

 

 

 

 

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