Poem of the Week

Thanks to my wonderful birthday gift, The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry, I’ve got a slew of delicious poems to choose from to reinstate my poems of the week. So let’s start the festivities with Charles Olson’s “Pacific Lament.”

PACIFIC LAMENT

by Charles Olson

In memory of William Kickey, a member of the crew of the U.S.S. Growler, lost at sea in February, 1944.

Black at that depth
turn, golden boy no more
white bone to bone, turn
hear who bore you weep
hear him who made you
deep there on ocean’s floor
turn
as waters stir;
turn, bone of man

Cold as a planet is cold, beat of blood no more
the salt sea’s course
along the bone jaw white
stir, boy, stir
motion without motion
stir, and hear
love come down.

Down as you fell
sidewise, stair to green stair
without breath, down
the tumble of ocean
to find you, bone
cold and new among the ships
and men and fish askew.

You alone o golden boy no more
turn now and sleep
washed white by water
sleep in your black deep
by water out of which man came
to find his legs, arms, love, pain.
Sleep, boy, sleep
in older arms than hers,
rocked by an older father;
toss no more,
love;
sleep.

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