I usually post other poets’ work for the Tuesday Poem series, but since I’m the Guest Poet at Poetry Live in Auckland today, here’s one of my own. This one’s close to my heart — an equator crossing among other things. Some readers will have seen this a couple years ago, but I’ve not posted it in the Tuesday Poem series so I’m sharing it again.
It is quieter than quiet
a seabird lands on my deck
squawks his lonely squawk
It’s his hello but I tell him to go
I want to be alone with the toenail moon
and the shadows all around
with the familiar line
where dark night touches down
on black ocean
The wind is light
the sails sigh
and sometimes thwonk. But mostly I
am lulled by the sound of nothing,
the heave and hush
of swell on hull
Ahead lies the longest line
the measure of our existence
it’s invisible but real
parts the world in two
North and South: will they feel
as different to me as before and after,
then and now,
life and loss?
Will the South Sea soothe my Chesapeake soul?
will Acrux tug like Polaris used to pull?
will you come to me now,
whisper our history and feed my future,
warm my salt skin, will me on?
I hear you, brother. I remember when
you made harmony with your hands
I see your forever grin
The bird returns. I ask him
where he’s from but he flies away
and fades to shadow.
I sail on, west by southwest
the taste of tomorrow
on my tongue
This poem was first published in OCHO, a journal edited by Didi Menendez. OCHO includes such a beautiful array of writing and art — check it out at the link above. I feel very honoured indeed to have this poem included in this issue.
For more Tuesday Poems, go here.