Today's poem is by Grace Schulman


The burst, the lilt and rock, the wheel of spray,
the flash of waves exploding in hard rain.

Perhaps they are the dead, their watermark
the signatures of shipwrecked passengers,

or coded messages from men and women
desperate to tell what they have seen.

Speed, thunder, surprise. The jarring thump
of low bass drums, the dancer's leap and bow,

the gospel singer's growl, the pause, the shout,
dodging the beat, notes jammed with syllables,

the hums, mumbles, and cries, the choruses,
cymbals that gleam in sudden white-gold light.

Breakers roared when Caedmon sang Creation
in a new verse with the rhythmic pull of oars.

Rollers boom on a shore I cannot see
and tie me to flood-dead, quake-dead, war-dead,

disaster-dead, or dead ripped from the stars.
As I trudge in the shallows, sliding in wrack,

order snapped apart like a broken string,
each end still aloft, trembling in air,

the sea ahead, the roadways drowned behind,
a wave shimmers, taking its time to fall.

How all that matters is to stand fast
on the ridge that's left, and hear the music.

Copyright © 2006 Grace Schulman All rights reserved
from Cimarron Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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