Sound

To Norbert Valath

To render the ocean one needs a whole year
with Zoom in freezing fingers on a quarter-mile of coast.
Sound is the one true vocabulary of nature

and not the peacock-palette painters swear
he uses for his best stuff, for his daily disposable frescoes.
To render the ocean one needs a whole year

on the quayside tracking the tide’s increasing stature,
its drones and climaxes, the diminuendo when it shows
sound is the one true vocabulary of nature.

Nature plays bass clarinet in a Barcelona pop-up theatre.
In a polo neck he solos the ocean. He tongues, he blows
to render the ocean. One needs a whole year

or centuries to capture even its least-most feature:
like the boat-cove’s lapping, backwashed contraflows.
Sound is the one true vocabulary of Nature,

who’s lost in his MacBook, applying filter after filter
to this day-long rock-pool’s jazz, its stadium of echoes.
To render its ocean one needs a whole year:
sound is the one true vocabulary of nature.

More Poems by Billy Ramsell