Time to Go

February 3, 2010
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Ocean’s treacherous you know
It might look still and steady now—
Solid, a smooth green-glass window with flecks of gold and white
It’s not going anywhere
You know, the same old sea you dove into as a kid
The one you terrorized as a pirate and conquered as a king
(a sandy swimsuit king of speckle-walled castles
and tide-pool moats)
The laughing, sparkling, summer-day sea
Innocent and fun, throwing glass-bead breakers on a white-sand beach
Still it’s wild
Like the bobcat they tried to tame up in Indiana somewhere
People thought it was a housecat—till one day it killed its keeper and ran off to the woods that called it
You can’t train it, can’t tame it
It’s got a magnet inside, a compass heartbeat that pulls it out and away
Something’s out there, white and luminous, calling to it
Can you hear it?
There’s a magnet inside—
It’s being pulled away, inexorably, irresistibly
Can’t fight it much longer,
The tide waits for no man
Do you want to get on board?
Catch the great green mass as it sweeps out and away from the world of men?
Step on the beautiful swirl of muddy water, to be carried out into sea’s bright bosom—
Or down to its dark heart?
Cause the ocean’s gonna move,
Sweep itself back out, north by the compass needle, to where the rising moon calls
Gather together the rolling, shining foam and the bright pale moonlight,
Till the light of the waves and the light of the moon and the sound of laughing, drowning water all rolls together and disappears over the horizon in one bright wave
One day the ocean’s there, a smooth turquoise blanket against the shore
The next day it’s gone, leaving an ugly weal of wet sand
And sharp driftwood bones that stick up, white against the dirty grey
While the stranded crabs flounder helplessly and wonder
Where the water’s gone

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