Thursday, June 12, 2008

Poem Moving Me

I found this in the Harvard Divinty Bulletin

Seawater, and Ours a Bed Above It
by Katie Ford

We wished that if we raked
the sea-carved skeletons from beneath
the house the true soft back of earth
would show a constant bone.
But those same shells trawled from the gulf
held back malarial waters
confused by houses raised above them.

We said this house is breaking
when one end sank and one beam cracked—
(in my honest sleep I said
our house is dead)—
as our hound clicked over the floors,
scratching the same raw second
we did not learn the law of,

that we live and die and live again
into dawns we feel it is right
to wash only our feet in the basin,
letting the water pass over us
into the ground.

And we do know, don't we:
we will be overcome by waters
where I stand with my lanterns and cans,
with my useless preparations and provisions,
with the God I loved, I hated, and you.

I might not know you, nor you,
me, even though we've washed each other
with salt. But we know how we will end:

Waters will sweep the shells over our eyes,
and we will recognize
where we are
from what we saw
in museums and papers, from what we heard
in the agate voice of the scientist
who spoke in the quiet
only the truth need not rise above,

who, somewhere inland, takes tourists
through a glass garden
where tropicals and ferns
are rained on periodically
by a false mist
to show how spores used to shine
from even the underside of the world.


Some poems, like this one, take the air right out of me.

And some songs do too. Ray LaMontagne singing Jolene.

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