Thursday, June 4, 2009

Why Do Beaches Inspire Poets?

This is a second attempt at the previous poem that I began in Port Townsend, WA during my creative residency there. Lately I've been studying structure in poetry, that is, prosody. Alfred Korn, Robert Pinsky, Mary Oliver. And I've been reading poetry with an eye to stanza and listening to poetry with an ear for rhythm.

I discovered that this Port Townsend poem breaks nicely into tercets, with an occasional enjambment that works for me. More work to do, but this is where I am now:

Why Do Beaches Inspire Poets?

Purple-black crows peck at bones,

at carcasses of coastal pine polished white
by the persistent apetite of teh shore.

But this is merely metaphor.
At best, imaginative reasoning.
At worst, a newsflash from the interior.

Farther up the beach, a bullwhip
of sea carrot lassoes back around
itself, encircling an unlikely pile

of rose quartz. An accident of nature?
Or just another ghost of abstract human thought
left behind to mark the landscape?

Clouds dart, and a suddent sunbridge throws
an invitation. Crossover the ocean to a farther
unseen shore. But this also metaphor.

And too great a leap of faith, onto
a tenuous layer of sunlakes? Glimmers on a
watery surface, golden ephemera?

They offer no sure foundation.
No human has ever walked on water.

Where a drain pipe juts from a
descending hill I hear singing,
an unexpected polyphonic chorus
of monks intoning OM.

Shifting, layered timbres of wind
echoing through an open pipe,
a kind of Genius that fades

whispering, and then silence
as if to tell me
Time does not start here.

Why do beaches inspire poets?
Kneeling down, I reposition a clam shell
to its best advantage.

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