Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sea Change

Storm Clouds on the Washington Coast




Sea Change


I saw the sea
for the first time in
San Francisco
one of many first times.
It bewitched me to it.

I’d leave the sleepers
ride the buses, meet the gulls
at the beach for breakfast
or go with whoever had
a car or a microbus

to Point Reyes
all of us young as caterpillars
capering fools in butterfly motley
in another endless California day,
tidepools of life

myriad and interlocked
shafting back sun and illusion
wandering the rocks
dancing naked round a bonfire
with colored ribbons for eyes.

I loved the sea till I went there
with you in the pelting rain
deep into your silent labyrinth
at the far northern edge of west
close to the border, one of your many

forsaken homes, shuttered buildings
dirty piers, failing fishermen, mist wrapped
cold, salt mazed with melted iceshelf
mixing up sullen rolling breakers
poured bitter from a cloned infinity.

I should have paid attention then
to how the sea changed itself
in your presence. Instead I took your hand
turned my back, and now I live
where no wave will ever break


August 2011


posted by roaddog52 on smugmug

8 comments:

  1. God, Hedge, what power here.

    I lolled in the flowery California coast in the first stanzas, the lyrical language, the shapeliness of your vocabulary, the images of delight. I love the simplicity of that first line I saw the sea . . .

    Then, I loved the sea till I went there / with you . . . and in the knife goes, cutting its swath into piered alleyways of grime, the ruined landscape of the wrong love. How the wrong turn can change one's landscape forever, if we let it.

    A gorgeous write, my friend.

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  2. oh, this one stings and feels heavy to me...sad...to change a place you have fallen in love with and have no longer returned to...i miss the ocean, having lived in FL for a couple years i got used to its rhythm...i feel you hedge...

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  3. Thanks, brian. I miss it, too.

    @Ruth: Thanks for reading and seeing. For a long time this has been an uncomfortable memory like a pebble in my mental shoe that needed shaking out; felt good to knock it out of there.

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  4. How changeful the sea, reflecting as much the soul as the sky ... The contrast between California and far-northern coastline is all the difference, say, between a warm heart and a cold one' embrace ... My mother's sea is quite different from my father's sea, but they both chamber my history. Past and present, inside and out, there's a sea mood for all of it ... Fine write. I've gone to the sea with arms opened wide and found only the sea, all there ever was ... - Brendan

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  5. This poem bewitched me like a love note from a lover. Though the images of the lover are grim, I like these lines:

    all of us young as caterpillars
    capering fools in butterfly motley
    in another endless California day,
    tidepools of life

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  6. mixing up sullen rolling breakers
    poured bitter from a cloned infinity.

    A very personal kodachromic moment in my mind; thank-you for this indelible memory-laden thought-image!
    jane jones

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  7. I'm dancing around the bonfire of your words watching the embers. Nicely written!

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  8. powerful imagery. too late we pay attention to the signs of what's to come.

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg