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The Song that Lives in a Chambered Shell

However hard you may search for it
you will never be able to grasp it
you can only become it.
-Ikkyu

Maslow called it ecstasy. Saints call it God. Mystic, witch, shamen,
snake handler, madwoman, healer – all tell the story.
Mine goes like this:

Bahamas. A moonless night in the late sixties –
our boat sails easily through the dark water.
An occasional light winks from passing islands.
Long after the others have gone below I sit
at the rail watching the wake slide by, churning
dark into light. At first I name it: phosphorescent
plankton. Then I embellish, call it stars-in-the-sea.
Words wash away in rustling water, every splash new
against the faceless sky. I grow large and empty.
The night’s poetry fills the split between me
and out-there . . . and for a time that has no name
I see with thee eyes of water, wind, stars – know
the lesson of wings.