Shore Line

We speak of mankind.
Why not wavekind?

Barrel-chested military water
rushes in a mass
to break the shore earth
into stonekind.

Pphlooph pphlooph
                              the waves grope
indistinctly for the shore.

As delicate
                  as a butterfly
along a cheek
                     a boat with white
and orange sail appears.
A small boy in a life-belt
sits in front and looks ahead
with all his might.
                      His father steers,
attached like a shaft
to his son’s safety
and the sail’s management.

A sunfish thrown back by a fisherman
lies drowned and pitching.
The eyes are white in death.

This is the raw data.
A mystery translates it
into feeling and perception;
then imagination;
finally the hard
inevitable quartz
figure of will
                      and language.
Thus a squirrel tail flying
from a handlebar
unmistakably establishes
its passing rider
as a male unbowed
                         in a chipper plume.

Carl Rakosi, “Shore Line” from The Collected Poems of Carl Rakosi (Orono: The National Poetry Foundation, 1986). Used with the permission of Marilyn J. Kane.
Source: The Collected Poems of Carl Rakosi (National Poetry Foundation, 1986)
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