Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Watching the Sea Go

              Thirty seconds of yellow lichen.

Thirty seconds of coil and surge,
            fern and froth, thirty seconds
                         of salt, rock, fog, spray.

                                                               Clouds
moving slowly to the left―

            A door in a rock through which you could see

                                      ―

another rock,
                       laved by the weedy tide.

            Like filming breathing―thirty seconds

of tidal drag, fingering
             the smaller stones
                          down the black beach―what color

             was that, aquamarine?
Starfish spread

                         their salmon-colored hands.

                                     ―

            I stood and I shot them.

I stood and I watched them
            right after I shot them: thirty seconds of smashed sea
                         while the real sea

                            thrashed and heaved―

           They were the most boring movies ever made.
I wanted

                       to mount them together and press play.

                                     ―

           Thirty seconds of waves colliding.

Kelp

           with its open attitudes, seals
                        riding the swells, curved in a row

                        just under the water―

                                    the sea,
            over and over.
                                    Before it’s over.
 

Credit


Copyright @ 2014 by Dana Levin. Used with permission of the author.

About this Poem


"I was staying on a beloved part of the Northern California coast intending to write, but all I kept doing was taking thirty second videos of the sea. It seemed like such an absurd activity (the sea was right there!), but I was compelled. On the page I'd been troubling our environmental future; perhaps the videos were little stays against the End.” 

—Dana Levin

Author


Dana Levin

Dana Levin is the author of Banana Palace (Copper Canyon Press, 2016) and Sky Burial (Copper Canyon Press, 2011), among other books. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Date Published: 2014-09-11

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/watching-sea-go