This Month's Theme
Poetry Under the Mast


This Month's Featured Poems
"Marina" by T.S. Eliot
"survivor" by Heather Dearmon
"Song" by Alun Lewis

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Last month's theme: Poetry After the Vows
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Marina
by T.S. Eliot

Quis hic locus, quae regio, quae mundi plaga?

What seas what shores what grey rocks and what islands
What water lapping the bow
And scent of pine and the woodthrush singing through the fog
What images return
O my daughter.

Those who sharpen the tooth of the dog, meaning
Death
Those who glitter with the glory of the hummingbird, meaning
Death
Those who sit in the sty of contentment, meaning
Death
Those who suffer the ecstasy of the animals, meaning
Death

Are become insubstantial, reduced by a wind,
A breath of pine, and the woodsong fog
By this grace dissolved in place

What is this face, less clear and clearer
The pulse in the arm, less strong and stronger--
Given or lent? more distant than stars and nearer than the eye
Whispers and small laughter between leaves and hurrying feet
Under sleep, where all the waters meet.

Bowsprit cracked with ice and paint cracked with heat.
I made this, I have forgotten
And remember.
The rigging weak and the canvas rotten
Between one June and another September.
Made this unknowing, half conscious, unknown, my own.
The garboard strake leaks, the seams need caulking.
This form, this face, this life
Living to live in a world of time beyond me; let me
Resign my life for this life, my speech for that unspoken,
The awakened, lips parted, the hope, the new ships.

What seas what shores what granite islands towards my timbers
And woodthrush calling through the fog
My daughter.

What the Thunder Said: A Site devoted to the works and life of T.S. Eliot


survivor
by Heather Dearmon

luminous and white,
i walk like a roman
in my sterile gown, my loose tunic,
pacing the stale, gray corridors
-holding its ghastly attendants,
-who seem to stiffen at my presence.

surely i do not belong here.
surely these dreams of
saltwater and sea urchins,
the submerged cabins
overgrown with kelp
and ash-blue faces,
-they cannot be real.

the land dwellers gawk
and surround me like gulls,
and push in my ears
their witnessed account:

i escaped the death-mouth,
the violent lung-filler,
who stole the rest
but choked up me,
to reside at the edge
of the angry sea,
who confided her depths
in front of me:

these, these are mine.

Heather's Little Poems


Song
by Alun Lewis

(On seeing dead bodies floating off the Cape)

The first month of his absence
I was numb and sick
And where he'd left his promise
Life did not turn of kick.
The seed, the seed of love was sick.

The second month my eyes were sunk
Om the darkness of despair,
And my bed was like a grave
And his ghost was lying there.
And my heart was sick with care.

The third month of his going
I thought I heard him say
'Our course deflected slightly
On the thirty-second-day--'
The tempest blew his words away.

And he was lost among the waves,
His ship rolled helpless in the sea,
The fourth month of his voyage
He shouted grievously
'Beloved, do not think of me.'

The flying fish like kingfishers
Skim the sea's bewildered crests,
The whales blow steaming fountians,
The seagulls have no nests
Where my lover sways and rests.

We never thought to buy and sell
This life that blooms or withers in the leaf,
And I'll not stir, so he sleeps well,
Though cell by cell the coral reef
Builds an eternity of grief.

But oh! the drag and dullness of my Self;
The turning seasons wither in my head;
All this slowness, all this hardness,
The nearness that is waiting in my bed,
The gradual self-effacement of the dead.

The Alun Lewis Page


Find other poems at:

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