Thursday, April 24, 2014

Poem In Your Pocket Day 2014

April is National Poetry Month and today is Poem In Your Pocket Day, a day when people take a favorite poem with them through their day to share with the world. And this is the one I will be carrying with me to share with others today. It is a lovely, mysterious, transcendent piece by poet, scholar, and my old friend, Joel Long.

Cliff Dive

Measure the depth of water with your hands.
Arch your fingers as though they could not be broken.
Consider the gradual darkness underwater as an equal
to depth, the murk, the pressure on your ears, the cooling
of your eyes as you begin to see outlines of stones,
a tree branch, waterlogged, wedged in silt.
Consider the height of these lichen-spotted cliffs,
above the water as a gauge for what is underneath,
that kind of distance inverted in the water,
that kind of weightlessness converted to weight
of river and earth, not lift but fall, a boulder
you'll never move, deep shade nothing will break.
The undertow they warned you about keeps you
under like a water plant, hands now fronds
measuring the speed of the current, the strength
this time of your spine burrowing in the bottom,
the dark polestar, the anchor inside it.
We will want to know when you return to the surface.
Send word. Bring back data, a brief description
from that far down. We will wait for you on shore.

--Joel Long

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