Setting Out

6 November 2018

By Philip Kuepper

The sea lies unsettled.
It crowds the harbor,
making nervous the boats.
The lollipop stick-like masts of dinghies
wobble, wildly, from side to side.
The wind is whistling in and out of inlets
that crevice the shore.
Water sounds like smacking lips
as it laps the rocks,
the ravenous sea hungering
for more and more of the shore.

I imagine lifeguards rowing out into such a sea
to engage in rescue exercises,
their muscles flexed tight as rope
as they pull on their oars,
against the sea’s resistance,
against the sea’s hungering.
They row through the devouring.

Otherwise their is little we can do
but wait.
Even small ships anchor
outside the harbor
to rock to the dissonant
music of the sea,
music giving no quarter
from its blasts of sounds.

Whipped white waves are capped with froth
that ermine the grey, hairy water,
water like Medusa’s hair
morphing into jellyfish, the sea indifferent
to my difficulty in describing it.

All voyages have been cancelled.
The wind has picked up,
after turning on itself
like a boxer giving blows to himself in a mirror.
We walk back to the hotel,
to wait out the period of setting out.

(27 October 2018)

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