Tuesday, September 18, 2012

If You Miss the Ocean

If You Miss the Ocean

Paint the ocean the way you remember it,
thick as stucco, as meringue.
Cut squares from every garment you wore
to the beach and make a quilt,
denim, sandsoft pink or gray cotton. Say
ocean. The pain will swell,
will recede. Give as gifts objects that remind
you of the ocean, light blue
wineglasses, a seagull mobile. Select words
that have ocean scribbled
on the back of them, in parentheses: pine,
gull, transform, Kitsilano,
the bank and post office by the beach.
Picture the ocean now, see
how it is there for you even while it clings
to the shore. Be more like
the ocean. Everything you do can be in service
of the ocean, acts of devotion.  


  1. I LOVE this poem. You've inspired me to write one about the mountains. Stay tuned!

  2. Love the details and how the sounds shift in this poem.

  3. Enjoyed this! The words, the details, the whole idea. Also, the image reminded me a of recent exhibit at our local gallery, photographs of water containing horizon....like standing on the shore.

  4. Thank you for this. I have missed the ocean every day of my life except when I was in it...and I close my eyes once a day to go there. You gave me more ideas. : )

  5. My favorites—pain swelling and receding, the ocean as stucco, and:

    how it is there for you even while it clings
    to the shore.

    I think I’ve always thought of the shore as the clinger, just because it will probably be eaten by the ocean. But from a sheerly visual perspective, this makes a lot of sense. I might even like it if the poem ended there.

  6. It does not matter to your devotion if there is an ocean; there is an ocean.

  7. Apologies if I've said this before, but, I'm truly impressed by how cleverly you capture quirks then tie them to larger, relatable themes.


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