Words For Waves



If I were to compose words for waves,

I’d wander the shore, mile after mile, month after month

year after year as I changed ages, letting

the sun set on me and the moon rise on me

sometimes a scimitar, sometimes a golden eye,

and the stars stick their fierce pins into the sky,

letting the sun rise pink again on my pink flesh


I’d wander the shore and let my feet

be familiar of the wear of sand and of rock,

listening, listening, listening, for I’m certain

that the waves have a language all their own,

a way of speaking and making themselves understood

and I have always aspired to be their translator.

the importer of their ancient virgin truth


I’d leave the clouds to others, even though cloud

and waves are intimately connected as both are water

I’d leave the land, too, its vast barrens, and strange hewn

grotesque overweening ranges of mountains all to others

I’d keep my feet walking, listening, listening, listening

for the hint of a word in the thunder rumble

of huge breakers minted on the open ocean


Or perhaps it would be the fan of surf spray

that betrayed a clue in a random moment, a first word

confident of what came after though yet without form

the waves are connected to the deep, to the hidden skin

of the earth that was once surface, perhaps, then dove deep

into a soothing darkness, an immense quiet, a place to wait

and keep on waiting for whatever might come next


But suppose, after all my walking, all my wandering,

all my wondering, that the language of the waves

does not yield to me: what’s the harm in that, I love

to walk and to wander and to wonder and to take wind

on my cheek as I go and feel the flecks of salt it holds.

suppose the waves keep their secrets and exult in them,

then what a quest I’ve had when at last I crash and break

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