Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: the arts of activism
Part IV: Poets of the draft resistance: poem, pp. 378- PDF (2.3 MB)
POEM FOR BOB GRAF by Jim Forest BOB GRAF I look at you my eyes can see only a face aboard a creaking whaler out of Nantucket in 1830. 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. POEM by Jennie Orvino This water with the dead flies floating crisp side up to the sun, could be tears.