This last hour have I watched you
watching the sea like a lighthouse:
spirit beacon, savage lantern;
a strange light shining in your countenance.
I know you, scientist – while the rest of us
are listening to her whispers: vast liquid mind,
who talks in tides, who has swallowed
landscapes whole in pure, unbroken latitude,
you defy her wilderness, and are busy
drawing invisible boxes on her surface;
measuring; imagining right-angled triangles:
the sea as Adjacent; yourself, as ever, an Opposite.
One minute, you are looking down at your feet,
scant few feet away, watching your shallow thoughts
washing over them, filling your eyelets,
soaking the bottoms of your jeans.
Then, with the slightest raising of your head,
a tilt of mere degrees, you’ve skimmed
the flat stones of your eyes across the night waves:
huge distances cleared at the slightest inclination,
Another, and you are miles out:
lone stone pillar, surrounded on all sides
by storm-tossed ultramarine; with Terra firma,
all its chatter and streetlamps, nowhere to be seen.
One more tilt and, tricked by the curved Earth,
you have slipped the leash of your seabound orbit,
broken your hypotenuse to stare, beyond distance
at the raw perspective of infinity.
And still, I am watching you,
piloting your lone ship among the stars,
stirred into the dark solvent of the cosmos,
You, this sea, and all the turning tragedies of your life.
“C’mon,” I say, “Let’s go and get chips”
And, silently, you nod.