Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Poem from Rockaway

Every summer Matushka and I go to join other writers for Orthodox Writers Week at Rockaway Beach.  We spend the days writing, and then sharing with each other in the evenings what we have written during the day.  I spend much of the day reading Bible commentaries and writing notes in the margins of my Bible, which of course means I have little to share each evening.  By way of compensation, I usually produce a poem to share with the group.  This year's poem is appended below. I hope you like it.

Rockaway Baby

Rock-a-bye baby in the tree-top.
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock.
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall.
and down will come baby, cradle and all.

Rock away, baby, whether in tree-top or by sea-side,
rock away in your cradle and dream
and read and write and in your gentle rhythms dance
with elegant long limbs; taste poetry like salt stinging your tongue;
sing and make words float in the air around you like blown soap-bubbles,
glistening until they burst and fall and soak your face with its laughter.
Rock away and dream, never thinking for a moment of breaking boughs.
Dance and sing and write your lines in beach-sand, never thinking
of the coming tide, the water,
the water,
the softly-rising water, inexorably growing
like a baby in a womb, water to wash away all beach-words, water
to carry off all whirling dancers and poets and singers to the sea,
the cold, wide sea.
Why whisper winged words for the wind to carry them all away?
Why trace lines in the sand to be washed clean into oblivion?
The One who rocks the cradle bids us write, and dream, and dance,
and leave to Him the rising tide.
His breath nudges the cradle to make it swing; He will catch us when it falls.
He likes it when we dream, and the words we write by the sea-side.
He reads them all.


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