Poetry

The Ocean with Me (Learning by Distance)

When I left home, I took the ocean with me,
And I dreamed in the widening distance home
Slept cradled in the sea’s long sound and breathed

New stars, dry air, and walked old stone                 
And I learned the rudiments of silence
With long swells running in my heart, alone

I kept the ocean with me, far away from home
And no one knew my language, the words for “love” or “free”
And no seemed to share the running, long swells of the sea

Those swells held me in the desert, in the hollow of their hush
And I wake to their widening distances
That still take me with a rush

And when I left to go back home, I was leaving home again
And I took distance and the ocean with me,
Both the windswept hush of drifting sand
And the long swells of the sea

Now I’m drowning in the distance,
My words like bubbles rise
From a swimmer’s final breath
And wide astonished eyes

And the words still rise and break and stretch away
On the gentle, smooth, long running sea
But sound can reach the land no more,
And no one waits upon that shore…

But this distance isn’t longing,
It’s the air that I’m now breathing
I’ve no longing now to close that distance
It’s an opening now, and not a leaving

And I’ve no remaining urge,To waste new breath on words
Can one shape distance into speech?
Can such a kind of speech be heard?

I still take the ocean when I go
Home in the distances I know
Free in the long swells of that sea
At rest in the silences I own.

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