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Albatross


Albatross

Sunrise, sunset upon the wave

a great expanse of flowing cave

sunset, sunrise, upon the land,

a turning bank of burnished sand.

We are a great white gratitude upon the starry sea,

We see the ocean seven-tombed,

We 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

We see the space, the warder knows,

and knead the place the wind has hewn.

We 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 breaker

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 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

alone

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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