The Waves

Gulls, a crowd of them, patrol
the beach, now and then taking flight,
bellies just over the sea,
wings beating quickly at first,
then holding a slow, steady glide
while a few small wavelets bend
and curl along the shore,
describing the bay’s long arc
with their ancient, informal rhythm,
reflections of light
on their slow undulations,
in their foam as they break,
in the traces of bubbly film
that they leave in the sand.

Did you know that a wave
is a circular pattern of energy,
force, not water itself, but a rhythm
that moves through the water
like shock waves in earth,
like sound waves in air,
like these words in the depths
of your mind.

In this quiet place
where the water stays or yields,
where it breaks or simply bends
at the waves’ insistent bidding,
where it traces along the shore
in soft, unconscious concert
with the morning sun, with the fitful breezes,
in this quiet place past seeming,
past shaping, past conscious design,
in this force at the heart of the mind
we can think beyond meaning —
let a word become the throbbing of the water,
the earth, and the air, the pulse of one life
that we share.


Hear it:


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