By Sandra McPherson b. 1943 Sandra McPherson
I know a little what it is like, once here at high tide   
Stranded, for them to be so attached to the bottom’s   
Sarcophagus lids, up to their brown green gold wine   
Bottle necks in the prevailing booze, riding, as far   
As we can see, like a picnic on a blanket.

Whatever plucks them from below the red horizon
Like snapped pulleys and ropes for the pyramidal effort
Of the moon, they come in, they come through the breakers,   
Heaps of hair, writing across the beach a collapsed   
Script, signers of a huge independence.

Melville thought them pure, bitter, seeing the fog-sized   
Flies dancing stiff and renaissance above. But I   
Have eaten nori and dulse, and to have gone deep   
Before being cast out leaves hardly a taste of loneliness.   
And I take in their iodine.

Sandra McPherson, “Seaweeds” from Radiation (New York: The Ecco Press, 1973). Copyright © 1973 by Sandra McPherson. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Source: Poetry (November 1972).


This poem originally appeared in the November 1972 issue of Poetry magazine

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November 1972
 Sandra  McPherson


Sandra McPherson weaves vivid images culled from nature into what Contemporary Women Poets contributor David Young characterizes as "rich, complex, and deeply satisfying poems." In collections that include the National Book Award-nominated The Year of Our Birth, 1988's At the Grave of Hazel Hall, and 1996's Edge Effect: Trails and Portrayals, McPherson has increasingly honed her unsentimental, insightful verse, imbuing it with . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Animals, Nature, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Landscapes & Pastorals

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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