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 of† rock
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.