Today's poem is by Matt Barnard

The Bends

And let this be a lesson, frogmen,
to those who return too fast from a foreign element, the punishment
is terrible. Terrible for those like Icarus

who believe they've mastered the other place
with feathers glued to bamboo shoots, or prosthetic webbing.

Sojourners, be humble
as the earthworm is humble.

He embraces the earth, lets it pass through him, he burrows he eats his element,
blind, deaf, mute. He knows the vengeance of birds, their iron beaks.
So when you rise in a cacophony of bubbles

through the ocean's unmeasured mass,
come back slowly. Listen

to your breathing.
Think of the half-opened door of the moon, how it let slip
men into its bare pantry.

Of the tips of mountains and their time-lock on life,
and be thankful for yours.

Copyright © 2004 Matt Barnard All rights reserved
from Entering the Tapestry
Enitharmon Press / Dufour Editions
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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