Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The ocean poem

I am still learning about the ocean -- I've never lived near it before [NYC doesn't count even tough geographically you'd think it would. I saw the Hudson but never, really the ocean]. So I'm learning about the ocean's nature. The following poem kind of wrote itself a couple weeks ago.

A Midwesterner Beside the Atlantic

The sea doesn't exist in Indiana or Iowa,
or any of the Great Plain states.
We are told it once was a sea May be.
The Great Lakes hang over our heads
like a cowlick we forget about.
We're half a continue -- or more --
distant in any direction.
When we speak of seas, oceans,
the words simply mean water Lots of it.

We don't know the ocean's sounds or smells,
its storms or serenity or daily changeability,
its shoreline spews of shells and seaweed.
We have heard of sharks an great whales,
and weirder wonders like octopi and jelly fish.
We don't eat eel with chopsticks or otherwise.
For us tuna and salmon come in cans.
We have read Moby Dick but Huck Finn
is our water borne wanderer, a sensible kid
with no obsessions despite his Pap.

Beneath our big skies are waves of wheat.
We wade knee deep in soy beans.
We disappear but do not drown
walking through head high fields of corn.
We have giant combines but no catamarans.
The only shells we gather and crack for food
comes from the chicken house
and we don't eat the contents raw.
We get woozy rocked by waves.
We can't swim and have never set sail.
The sa does not welcome us.
We don't love a stranger
until we've known him.

You might say there's an element of culture shock. I've walked through woods and fields and trekked in high mountains. But walking beside the ocean is a very different experience. I'm liking it.

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