Cape Ann

I started work on this poem in June 2017, shortly after reading Winter Tide, by Ruthanna Emrys and being reminded of the beauty of the New England seacoast. I’ve long had spiritual feelings about the ocean that I have difficulty putting into words, and I’ve long known that I want to be buried at sea when I die; both of which are, in part, topics of this poem.

Cape Ann is a rocky arm of land thirty miles north of Boston that forms the north end of Massachusetts Bay. I visited Halibut State Park there while in grad school.

“Cape Ann”
23 August 2017, aboard the Amtrak California Zephyr

This storm-swept shore is but a passing hour:

These hard, grey stones were ancient mountains’ bones,
          skinned and freed by ice a day ago;
The cold, grey sea that strokes and wipes them clean,
          is as eternal as the Earth itself.

The playful waves that lap the rocks awake,
          bear salt the sea once leached from their lost flesh;
Now, grain by grain, the granite bones are roused
          from half a billion years of stony sleep.

When fish first strove to make their way on land,
          New England’s mountains rose above the sea;
But half a billion years is not enough
          for either to forget from whence they came.

I shall not live in glory ‘neath the waves:
          as I am born of air, my blood runs dry;
Yet, when I’m gone, I hope my body may
          still join these ancient rocks returning home.

From broth we came; to brine we shall return.