silas crosby

some words from the sea

Month: October 2011

isla buta chauques

From the top of the hill the island shakes down over the surrounding sea

A quilt of smooth green and ribboning fences.

The old woman stops, hands on her hips, to watch us approach.

She smiles wide, rocks back onto the heels of her rubber boots.

 

She points to her piece of smooth green, her ribboning fences.

The people here, she tells us, work hard with their hands.

She smiles when I talk, rubber boots walking sure, heel to toe side by side.

I ask where she was born and she looks to the south.

 

The people here, she says, are like trees with roots that grow deep

but with seeds that are blown to parts far and away.

She asks where we’re going and we point to the south.

She quints at the sun: I once went away to the north with my mother.

 

Like seeds strewn across water from high and away

these islands scatter down over the surrounding sea.

Between a boat yet half made and the sea and its rising

the old woman stops, hands on her hips, to watch us walk on.

 

 

 

full turn

At high tide the land draws back and the spaces between are wider

For these short hours the quiet shelled things live the full turn of a day

while farther below things carry on heedless

On coasts everywhere whole armies burst forth at each pull of the moon.

 

For these short hours the quiet shelled things dig deep, hope to live til the day.

At low tide two women with baskets gather clams clamped tight.

On coasts everywhere whole armies bend low at each pull of the moon.

The sound of their voices sets sail on the calm bay water.

 

The two women stretch tall, lift full baskets of clams clamped tight.

They turn with the tide and head up the beach for home and

leave the sound of their voices to hang ringing over the calm bay water.

From clear cross the cove I watch smoke gently rise from each roof on the shore.

 

The tide has come high now and at home the water’s been put on to boil.

As night starts to fall the light draws back and the spaces between can seem wider

but from clear cross the cove I still see light gently flicker through windows on shore

As far away from this place things carry on heedless.

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