A Classic Sampler
Beowulf / Viking Poetry
Sir Gawain & the
Green Knight and Pearl
Poetic Techniques /
Masthead / Awards
New Changes & Old
I Throwing the Stone
The sea is a stark Sargasso still-life
choked with wrack in rafts of torpor.
Great skeins of eelgrass skirt the reefs
round islands slumped in lumpen stupor.
As mud-bound moon-snails sink in their spirals,
slimes slide with the tide where it puddles the pebbles.
I test one for heft. My stifled mind mills
with storms and maelstroms. The sea stays still,
unruffled. Not even reflections tremble.
It’s close and clammy. Before I know it,
I've thrown the stone. A crash... I climb…
Winds lash and the splash has become a tsunami.
II Awaiting the Wave
Black, you broach as you breach the horizon,
fall, lunge forward, surge long miles landward,
wide killer-pod wake. You close like an omen.
Head-crack on rock you crash-land, transform
to migrations of sea-birds, surf-white and fanned,
to the wall of an iceberg, an imminent icefall.
Thirty feet up, from lobster-claw fingers
I cling to this cliff in the pall of your power,
pilloried by consequence, waiting your sentence,
your cliffhanger verdict of vapor or vengeance.
Copyright © John Beaton, 2001.