Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The Song of the Albatross

upon the wave
a great expanse
of flowing cave
upon the land,
a turning bank
of burnished sand.

I am a great white gratitude,
upon the starry sea,
I see the ocean seven-tombed,
I see the world
the warders see.
the rolling rocks,
the stubborn skies,
the way the tender South wind lies,
the fish beneath,
the fish above,
the white canescent moon
I see the place,
the warder knows,
and knead the space
the wind has hewn.

I know the roaring patterns
of wind to lifted wing
the scale-enamoured oceans,
the fluxing shoals that ring against
the banked cliff face
a climate high
gull-scored with nesting song
around its feet,
a fishful foam
turning around
to rocky spume.
and when the stars
are gulfs of light
there comes the moon and I,
we glide the earth towards its girth
of ocean,
folding land to sky.

The things I see when flying
are maps of unspoke words
twixt krill and squid and shark and
life is a plexus shared by the speaker
death is a point that falls to the deep
opening out into limpets of light.

I journeyed through the journey
a million miles by sea
a million miles again by home,
and then I saw my broken bone.
I couldn't rise
I couldn't fall,
the human things
had thrown the pall.
lengths which catch the salty fish
and slam us in turn from our wings
reaching to the secret deep,
and thinking the enthundered meek

Shall I grieve
for broad white death,
slam to the keening grave?
In life and death
I field the planks
of earth and
greening waves.

A thousand, thousand slimy things
live on and so do I
I am the banks of rot
and feather
under the starry sky.

My death was like a greeting
of the ocean to the land.
My downward slant,
was ready
for the Kraken-kindled sand.
We are the journey bearers
we are the living shore
and when we cannot travel on,
when wings have gone,
we travel more.

Yet I would will,
my grey-white child,
to fly upon
my vital mile.
To keep my watch,
from sea to land,
to guard the salt-white glow.
Instead he was too young
and pecked at gibes of
flummoxed flow

There is no sin in dying
nor killing when done well,
but there are things within the sea
that rise and rise, and cannot swell.
That rise and rise and cannot fall
and rot with a bewildered pall.
The endless sea
is ribbed with bits
that cannot be entombed and stilled
the lightning map
is torn and rent
by that which has no way to end.

We were a great white gratitude,
upon the starry sea,
we saw the ocean seven-tombed,
we saw the world
the warders see.
The rolling rocks,
the stubborn skies,
the way the tender South wind lies,
the fish beneath,
the fish above,
the white canescent moon.
We saw the place,
the warder knows,
kneaded the space
the wind had hewn.

Yet oceanic maps of life
are darker than they were
blinded by the blinding patch
from an encumbered shore.
And I would wish my children life
and not the living death they bore.

For there aren't
albatross enough
to guide the years in.
There are not living birds enough
to hear the weeded wonder sing.
Each wind-scaped bird
is like a grip
which holds a scope of land to sea
and if the birds
are killed by ghosts
each folded place,
will then not be.

The map is growing darker now,
this is a thing I've said,
and I would wish my children life
yet know that they are dead.
And we who guard the tidal night
we hear the rising thunder
and still we watch and still we sing
with wings of flummoxed wonder.
And I might wish for more than flight
to see the deep come to the height
to turn against the living ghosts
to rout them from their watching posts
Yet I am steeped to wind and sea
I am the journey of the free,
I watch and then I living rise,
I rise and then I fall
for watching, flying, dancing, dying,
I can do no wonder more.

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