The Ocean, Louder

Photo: Schaferle. CC0/Pixabay

“The swell is low, but the sound along our coastline is quite loud.”

from “Why does the ocean seem louder during certain seasons?” by John Lindsey, Santa Maria Times, 10/8/ 2021

Over and over, waves crash.
See that green translucence?
See the froth? The cresting?
The swirl of strands of eel grass?
The sand and granules surge
and drop? On paper, I sketch
rugged curves in colors oceanic.
My friend has tasked me
with capturing this transience.

Over and over, I knock at his office,
where he, over and over, rejects
my efforts. In a huff, I take a match
to certain pages from my pad
and let them crisp to black scraps
in my sink. The fragments I wash
down that midwestern drain descend
into the underground, course unlit,
those bits—dissolved, cleansed—
to rejoin the watershed, to surface
first in the White River, then the Wabash,
the Ohio, the Mississippi, and, at last, to spill
into the Gulf of Mexico. Those waters
swash up on our southern shores.

As ashes, perhaps, the man,
who refused the pastels,
takes part in this briny jazz.
The swell is low but the swell
is wailing.

Categories Poetry

Pamela Hobart Carter loves Seattle as much for its water and mountains as for its bustle and creativity. She explores the Emerald City daily while walking her dog. Carter used to be a teacher who wrote on the side. Now she is a writer who teaches on the side.

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