LISTENING TO MARK STRAND: In a black sea, hold things together after a party sad

LUI1BLACK SEA – by Mark Strand

“One clear night while the others slept, I climbed

the stairs to the roof of the house and under a sky

strewn with stars I gazed at the sea, at the spread of it,

the rolling crests of it raked by the wind, becoming

like bits of lace tossed in the air. I stood in the long

whispering night, waiting for something, a sign, the approach

of a distant light, and I imagined you coming closer,

the dark waves of your hair mingling with the sea,

and the dark became desire, and desire the arriving light.

The nearness, the momentary warmth of you as I stood

on that lonely height watching the slow swells of the sea

break on the shore and turn briefly into glass and disappear…

Why did I believe you would come out of nowhere? Why with all

 that the world offers would you come only because I was here?”


In a field

I am the absence

of field.

This is

always the case.

Wherever I am

I am what is missing.

When I walk

I part the air

and always

the air moves in

to fill the spaces

where my body’s been.

We all have reasons

for moving.

I move

to keep things whole.


Someone was saying

something about shadows covering the field, about

how things pass, how one sleeps towards morning

and the morning goes.

Someone was saying

how the wind dies down but comes back,

how shells are the coffins of wind

but the weather continues.

It was a long night

and someone said something about the moon

shedding its white

on the cold field, that there was nothing ahead

but more of the same.

Someone mentioned

a city she had been in before the war,

a room with two candles

against a wall, someone dancing, someone watching.

We begin to believe

the night would not end.

Someone was saying the music was over

and no one had noticed.

Then someone said something about the planets,

about the stars,

how small they were, how far away.


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