(c) Norman Dziedzic Jr.
As I listen to the rain spattering against my cabin’s window,
I think of that night when we were stranded here.
The roads were washed out and the creek overflowing,
but I was in your arms , safe, warm, a long-awaited dream.
I saw the lights blink on the alarm clock, the bang on the transmitter.
I smiled, we were alone, you and I , no one would check on us.
I tugged on grandma’s quilt and you tugged back-asleep.
I listened to the sweet sound of your breath, soft, even.
When I awoke, stars glimmered in the window, the clock was flashing.
Darkness still surrounded me, along with your strong, hard arms.
I wanted this night to last forever, the moon seemed satisfied with just a peek at us.
You and I, finally in a place where life brought a freshness-alone, together.
Though spring has not yet blessed the trees with blossom, passing through
the woods this day, the sullen bareness of the dead tree among the living
draws my eye, its branches, like a skeleton, support the life nearby,
a chorus of creatures sing their dirges, oblivious that I have
trespassed in their woods, while the tree stands at attention and the world
goes on around, and through, exchanges its own life for hollow emptiness
No shame in being dead, for once you were alive,
and now you still bring grace and beauty,
no need for those around you to forget, to bury you or
avert their eyes from your emptiness
No, the world goes on, life goes on, better than perhaps before,
trickling rain, singing wind, crackling of your deathly limbs,
ruddy run-off water meandering across the path,
these create the harmonies that push life forward
Sandside I slump, on shelled shore, sun screened and sipping soda, unaware of rising tide.
The waves lap my feet, childish, childlike.
I settle into my shallow rock pool.
It’s pretty. Controlled. Tepid. You could say lukewarm.
Occasionally, mercifully, the tide refreshes it
And that unforgetting love spills in, flooding my dry sand living.
I have been playing adult-like, fun-less,
Responsibly boring the world,
Offering religion, not new life living,
Forgetting I was made to be as simple as the waves.
Missing, simply, the fathomless sea.
Words ring in my ears, in my mouth: “Try harder,” “Read, pray, do…MORE.”
Words so unrefreshing, untouched by tidal tonic,
Stale on tired, heat-stroked ears.
But your one word stroke broke yoke-rules, found parched hearts,
Mine among them.
We study the sea,
Read books, endure lectures, schedule workshops,
Then, with dry feet, speak of how nice it would be
The tide is turning, the sea calls me in.
There are some strokes to acquire—
But surely the splash and splatter of learning is better than stagnant pools or stifling sand,
Sheltered from revitalizing thrill.
Time brings tide’s pull, I splash in, all I feel is new.
I dive, delve into your effervescence, afloat in you.
Stillness and movement mingle, a sweetness of life.
A soul-craved life.
That which clothed me, masked me, left onshore—
Religious duplicity, scanty love living, safety settling.
The tide is turning now. Will you take me to the deep?
The swirls along the rocks tell me that it is
Time to go to sea.
Massive wave hills were breaking further out than I had ever seen.
I told myself and my friend that I would stay close-by shore,
And go no further, no more.
Slipping into the icy froth of the rip express lane,
Passing familiar rocky point,
I sat on my board, just gliding seaward like floating royalty in a river coronation,
Absorbing solar praise,
Robed regally in wet fur seal like suit,
Laughingly shouting back to my friend enjoying the shore-break surfing:
“Check this out!”
Forgetting to embrace shoreline wisdom.
My mistake apparent within seconds,
I am no king of the sea.
Today the familiar merry go round rip
joyfully ridden back to wave riding position
Bulged uncharacteristically and pulled me near to panic,
An unstoppable river, impossible to defy.
I was riding a water chairlift out to liquid white mountains.
In a salty blink, I whispered, “Save me!”
Doubt gushed, poured and exited out.
I saw daughter, wife, scenes of life.
I heard a royal blue voice call out: “Keep going, yes further out.”
Each shivering stroke showed feeble faith
As the sets rising green and tall drew terrifyingly near.
A precious wave approached from an unexpected angle,
Birthing hope within—to catch it would be certain escape.
It lifted me up, throwing me down, carrying me in.
I rode that surfboard like a rapid-rafting baboon,
Arriving to the shore,
Whispering appreciation to the real Sea King.