Disenchantment Bay

By Timothy Murphy b. 1951 Timothy Murphy
Touch and go. Our Cessna bumped the sand,
       thumped its tundra tires,
       lifted as if on wires,
banked over ice and rocked its wings to land.

We pitched our camp hard by the Hubbard’s face,
       some sixty fathoms tall,
       a seven-mile-long wall
seven leagues from Yakutat, our base.

Crack! A blue serac tottered and gave.
       Stunned at the water’s edge,
       we fled our vantage ledge
like oyster catchers skittering from a wave.

Separation has become my fear.
       What was does not console,
       what is, is past control—
the disembodiment that looms so near.

Detachment? So an ice cliff by the sea
       calves with a seismic crash
       of bergy bits and brash,
choking a waterway with its debris.

We clear the neap tide beach of glacial wrack,
       pace and mark the ground,
       then wave the Cessna round.
Pilot, we bank on you to bear us back.

Source: Poetry (June 2009).

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This poem originally appeared in the June 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

June 2009

Biography

Timothy Murphy still hunts in the Dakotas. His most recent book is the Longman Cultural Edition of Beowulf (2004).

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Religion, God & the Divine

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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