Spindrift (My Limited Vocabulary of the Sea)

When We Were Cedar

Hot basalt
Green salt
The light and hammered surface of the sea;
the guessed-at life of gulls;
pale chalcedony calm
of anemones locked
in the orange death embrace
of a starfish arm.
Agates: only think
and the light catches the blood egg red
in the black sand—
What is still? The rock.
What moves? The sea.
What blows? The surf.
What blazes? The sun.
What rises? The moon.
What gathers? The dark.
What thinks a long, slow thought through time
up through moss? Cedar ascendant and red.
All childhood, all tragedies,
all things both broken and complete
rise up the resinous thoughtlines of wood.
You and I are flat
cedar fronds for this season only,
extending over a remote bluff,
itself millions of years old ,
itself crumbling into the sea.
Fronds the shape of spindrift,
the way we catch the light—no one
sees us and yet
this cedar rises. We point her anonymous fronds
at the sea and the sun and the moon and the night and the dawn and the day and the sea.

–Sandy Jensen
Spindrift, Yachats
Feb. 17, 2008

3 thoughts on “Spindrift (My Limited Vocabulary of the Sea)”

  1. I have a complaint. It is not fair to call this poem My Limited Vocabulary of the Sea and then go on to write a screaming genius of a poem. It seems disingenuous. I especially like the line: and the light catches the blood egg red in the black sand.
    The use of repeating questions and answers feels line a strong new devise, reminiscent of call and response. The repeated use of the word light with a different meaning each time. Once again, the contrast between human time and geologic time. A fantastic poem, right up there with your best. Nuff said!

  2. Your compaint has been duly processed by the Customer Satisfaction Committee and the title has been changed to When We Were Cedar.
    I hope that resolves the issue?
    Thanks for your good and useful feedback!

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