Back to the Sea

Woman looking at the ocean pouring out of a paintingWithin the last two days I could say I’ve begun two new part-time jobs. Or since I haven’t actually, you know, worked at either one, I might choose not to say that. But I have initiated both. I have begun—finally—to get some training at Lowes, if filling out paperwork and taking a tour of the store constitute training. But it’s a start, and surely at some point I will at long last learn to work a cash register, bing bing!

The second job has appeared rather miraculously, the way people say good things sometimes will. I was contacted by someone I know at the Forestry Resources department at Penn State, asking me to come in and talk. The conversation consisted of this: they are creating a new center for forestry, they want help in a variety of areas to get it off the ground, and I am offered a part-time job helping to do this. Item number one, apparently, is to work on organizing a conference.

Even with two jobs, both of which are temporary and do not come with a limo, keeping the wolf away from the door is not assured. Nevertheless, I have my spray bottle of Wolf-B-Gone, so we’ll see.

It is nearly time to go to yoga, for some ahhh, owww, ommm, but before I go I wish to post a poem. I keep thinking I must have used this one, and every now and then I look to see which poems I’ve put up, and nope, it’s still not there. Or maybe I just can’t find it. So if this is a repeat, oh well. About two years ago when I was in Atlanta, in a very unusual event, I went with two brothers and my father to the large aquarium the city now has. After our visit to the aquarium, I wrote this.

The Georgia Aquarium

A microcosm of the sea looms over us.
As one star is to the sky,
this glass-bound pool is miniscule,
but we stand awed by vastness.
A whale shark slides by, ominously.
A manta ray loops in slow circles.
My father leans on a cane,
looking up at the enormous wall
holding in this ocean.

The cells of my body are salty.
Like the tremendous tank,
every cell is a facsimile of the sea.
I stand by my father in the darkness
as our far distant cousins swim past.
How many billion years
to multiply one cell to many,
to fan out into fins,
to crawl flopping from the water,
to walk across dry land looking for the water left behind?
How many million years
to stand clutching tools,
to become the man beside me
leaning on a cane?

Like twisted seasnakes,
DNA swims through our cellular oceans.
The seasnakes curl into new bodies,
and children crawl across dry land.
My elderly father is here with three grown sons.
He has three children living, one gone.
One of my father’s sons
has one child living, one gone.

Crowds of children
push excitedly up to the glass of the aquarium
to watch the fish.
I watch the children
watching the fish,
and my father watching the children.
We are all swimming in life’s river,
headed back to the sea.

It feels late,
and I turn to my father.
to ask if he is ready to go home.



Filed under Not Real Poetry

3 responses to “Back to the Sea

  1. Martha Sue binner

    Thank you for sharing this poem. It touches home with me. It becomes a movie in my mind, the details of each person and event so vivid. Congratulations on your new possibilities. Maybe at least one of them may lead to something more permanent and satisfying. I know you are thankful.

    Martha Sue

  2. David

    Thank you, Martha Sue. You know, as I was considering using this poem, I was imagining you reading it, wondering what you would think.

  3. declansynott

    I concur with Martha Sue, a well done poem. The rhythm is like the sea itself, a cyclical feel. Maybe “Darwin’s Aquariaium” might be a secondary title for this piece. BTW, I was in Boalsburg briefly on Friday morning after my reading at Standing Stone, but just before I was about to call you to meet at the Pump Station cafe, I got a ride all the way to Mifflinburg. Good fortune made better when the Dylan-playing truck driver turned out to be a former art teacher who knew Jack Troy, Diane Maurer, and Greg Clingham, all significant people in my past. FYI, I’ll be reading at Webster’s on Thursday May 17 at 7 p.m. Save the date. Remember you can tune a piano, but you can’t tuna fish!

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