It Will But Shake & Totter
Many poems have been written about the turgid sea.
For instance: the one about the man & his lover on the cliffs above the turgid sea.
It is the English Channel
& he is Matthew Arnold in 1851.
Across from him: “ignorant armies,” “clashing by night.”
The armies are not French.
They may be stars if what we’ve always thought of as stars
turned out to be the fading chalk of a fading language,
turned out to be nothing but the small sparks of rocks
being struck by chains in the corners of sky.
Like a Russian novel the sea roils & cedes, roils & cedes.
Fish do their fish-like work among its atavistic depths.
Notice how the moonlight glistens like lacquer
between the crests & troughs, the smell of the brine,
the heavy, salt-stung air.
All night the moon rings & rings.
All night the wind searches the cliffs for a flag,
a kite, a woman’s hat.
Love, I say, let us be true. Let us be.
The world is but a darkling plain. A hill of beans.
We are the few & we are the far between.