Sunday, March 16, 2008

Ode to the Sea

My dearest friend John was here for a couple of weeks thawing out from winter in NJ, "the land of black and white" as he called it. Every time he visits we make a pilgrimage to Point Udall, the eastern end of St. Croix and the easternmost point of the US, and one of my favorite spots here. I'll let this photo (which shows Buck Island on the far left) explain why:

This view invokes my deep love of the ocean and it also invariably evokes a wonderful poem by Pablo Neruda:

Ode to the Sea
Surrounding the island
There's sea.
But what sea?
It's always overflowing.
Says yes,
Then no,
Then no again,
And no,
Says yes
In blue
In sea spray
Says no
And no again.
It can't be still.
It stammers
My name is sea.

It slaps the rocks
And when they aren't convinced,
Strokes them
And soaks them
And smothers them with kisses.
With seven green tongues
Of seven green dogs
Or seven green tigers
Or seven green seas,
Beating its chest,
Stammering its name,

Oh Sea,
This is your name.
Oh comrade ocean,
Don't waste time
Or water
Getting so upset
Help us instead.
We are meager fishermen,
Men from the shore
Who are hungry and cold
And you're our foe.
Don't beat so hard,
Don't shout so loud,
Open your green coffers,
Place gifts of silver in our hands.
Give us this day
our daily fish.

ps- Many thanks to John Windwalker for sharing with me this lovely photo.

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