THE DARK AND TURBULENT SEA - Stephen J. Dobyns Poems


Poems » stephen dobyns » the dark and turbulent sea

Sailboat, sailboat - so Heart counts the ships at sea
in order to raise his thoughts above matters of flesh.
Heart is at the beach in his red swimsuit and nearby
on towels or tossing balls in the air are abundant
examples of female dazzle. Often Heart is comforted
by the waves' regulation, the distant line of watery
horizon, and the air with its mixed aspects of seafood,
salt and sweat. But here at the beach Heart is no closer
to the sea's soothing sway and resultant philosophical
reflection than on a city street. Lolling and frolicking
nymphs, pink flesh, and half-bared breasts, consume
his vision and so in desperation Heart counts the ships
at sea - sailboat, sailboat - in hopes he'll be restored
to calm. This for Heart enacts life's essential problem-
the distant vista with its philiosophical paraphernalia
is disturbingly hidden by the delights of the foreground.
Why for instance, mull over mortality when a bevy
of young ladies is engaged in a bosomy bout of volleyball
just a few feet away. Jiggle, jiggle thinks Heart, it leads
to trouble. Sad to say, he hasn't thought of Kierkegaard
all day. Heart is even hesitant to swim or take a nap lest
he miss some beauty adjust a strap or hitch her halter up.
as for the dark and violent sea it's just a distraction, easily
ignored; moral issues, highbrow notions - all forgotten.
This is in answer to a question asked the next day by a man
in his car starting through his tempest - streaked windshield
at the wind pummeled beach: Why's that guy sitting there
grinning? Heart's having a picnic, even though its storming.
Raindrops run down his neck. Heart stares at the waves disappearing
into the fog and feels able at last to see what's there in peace. And
what's that?:
What lies ahead and what always has been. All the immutable why's and
But now Heart's distracted once again. Beneath the sand he has found a
polka dotted bikini top. What amazing luck! Heart presses it to his lips,
then folds it neatly in his basket. Is he aware of the wintry weather's
fierce attack? Guess not.