Seaward

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“Grace does not destroy nature, but elevates it and consecrates it to God.” Thomas Merton

Seaward waits, poised,

gently rising and falling,
by the concrete pier
ready for our cruise;
the polished bowsprite,
jutting in defiance,
fills my heart
with an undefined dread.

Underway at last on the calm Sausalito channel
we strike sail, ropes winching
the mainsail tight, the foresail stretched
catching freshening breezes pushing up
from the foggy Golden Gate;
but I see only
watery desolation:
no familiar, solid road
no bright guiding line,
no golden prize
as we speed across
the dark, green desert.

The wind, no longer a breeze,
becomes a cold gale, flailing our faces,
making us hurry into windbreakers and hoods,
and when I turn my tingling cheeks
towards the shrouded city, suddenly
out far and in deep, I see

pelicans soaring and plunging to the kill,
ducks skimming low over the sea like fighter squadrons,
and sea-lions spying on us at water level,
their dog-sly eyes following our every move.

Warfare fills this place
as species battle species, and
Darwin writes all the rules.

On this voyage of discovery
we are like school-children gaping in wonder
at colorful plastic buckets of bay water
revealing sea-worms, and spider-crabs,
preying on tiny krill delicately inching
over fronds of firm sea lettuce.

So the bay is not a desert;
life pours over it,
on it, and under it,
claiming at every level
of this moist, roiling world
its birthright,

and we are unwitting participants in this struggle
tossed high and low in our powerful, winged schooner,
gliding lightly, scooning swiftly on our voyage
through the turbid, turbulent waters,
through the violent,
living bay.

(22 July 2010)

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