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Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: the arts of activism

Orvino, Jennie
Part IV: Poets of the draft resistance: poem,   pp. 378-[379] PDF (2.3 MB)

Page 378

by Jim Forest
BOB GRAF I look at you
my eyes can
see only a face aboard a creaking
whaler out of Nantucket in
Something in your eyes cold and
harsh as sea when (the night
gray as prison blankets) waves turn fist
yet you have a smile warm as fire
beneath the melting kettles in which whales turn light.
Your beard (black as the galley ceiling) an
axe of shining wind-tried curls
face sharp as iceberg edge
at night a lamp pours out its heat
in yellow ripples holding together
a circle of men
shadows fall backward, stumble overboard
at deck's edge.
Your voice (low
378                        coming like gusts of wind from a distant place)
tells stories of times to come, past harpoons,
past splintered longboats, water-filled lungs.
Men, you say, will be free as sea gulls playing
tag with spray, making love in sun-filled
skies, floating on winds tireless as the waves
of on-coming children.
Eyes tired of battle (one day fog, one day the
leap of leviathan, the stench of burning blubber,
storm upon storm; the hand of woman, the
smell of warm sheets distant as north star)
absorb an ember glow.
On Nantucket a girl sighs, turns, her dreams at sea.
by Jennie Orvino
This water with the dead flies
floating crisp side up
to the sun, could be tears.

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