Turning the Sea

If only I had a plow

With which to turn the sea

As once they cut sod on the prairie

I’d cultivate from the deep

Words I do not know 


I reach my hand

Into the surf thinking there

In foam a way of describing mercy

The sea merely swallows me

Returns my hand empty


I sit out on a rock

With mussels & barnacles

Under the wild spray of the waves

Seeking a way to say grace

My tongue a stone


A child of babel

I’d study the art of silence

In doldrums where currents sleep

If such a curriculum would

Help define love


Along the beach

I stumble among the shells

Left by those who once lived here

Who spoke the sea’s patois

The words beneath


Again I return as once I departed

An empty hand in search of a plow

With which to turn the sea as once

On the prairie they turned the sod


About Peter Notehelfer

I'm a retired people person who now finds the time to watch the little details of the world without worrying about being watched by anyone . . . I live on an Island north of Seattle with my wife named Ellen, a yellow dog named McGee, a yellow cat named Gatzby, and four fine chickens . . . I read fiction, bake bread, smoke salmon, and fish whenever the weather allows . . . Oh, and yes, I try to write a poem every day simply to avoid senility!
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6 Responses to Turning the Sea

  1. your words have such a soothing effect


  2. den169 says:

    Very powerful.


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