This poem was recently published in Avocet Online Magazine:
First Visit to the Sea
Janet Smith Post
Cindy lived in Rhode Island
in a salt box house, near the sea.
She packed us a picnic lunch—lovely—as she does,
little sandwiches on buttered rolls and
a thermos of Jasmine tea.
We climbed the berm and there—
the ground I had known, first and only—ceased.
Everything turned water, vast, undulating water.
No hills, or forests, or curves in the road,
nothing stood between me and the furthest horizons of blue,
stretching far beyond conclusion, like eternity.
The amniotic fluid of all births,
this living, surging, mighty muscle of the sea,
a thousand, thousand drops.
Wave on wave, rushing in, to retreat just as urgently,
driven by ancient knowing,
“Thus far you may come and no further.”*
Cindy waited while I sought to know
my meeting with the sea.
In time, we sat on the low, stone wall.
She spread out a cloth and lunch.
I tried to say a simple grace—
thank God for the food and for the sea,
But when a great thing swells the heart
and in turn, the throat,
the press permits no words,
only tears know the way,
tiny drops, like salty remnants of the sea,
fell in recognition.
In honor of Iraqi and Syrian Refugees
By Janet Smith Post
A few days ago, a friend sent me an email, urging me to listen to Iraqi and Syrian refugees sing Psalm 51:1-6 (Psalm 53) to Pope Francis at the Svietyskhoveli Cathedral in Mtskheta, Georgia. (This riveting music can be heard on You tube by listing call words: Psalm 53, Pope Francis and Georgia.) Its haunting beauty inspired me to write the following poem:
The heavy drone begins,
a haunting to startle the sleeping ear,
wrung-wrenched from deepest wound.
Now begins a wail-harmonic above the drone,
a cry, a mournful longing, pitched
above the weary way, stretched ageless.
It strikes our sympathetic scars, which shudder—resonate.
It pierces through till we confess,
“Yes, we know this primal song,”
the one we silence with our busy illusions.
We, too, are tethered here,
round and round this ring of earth,
turning on its dirge through seamless time.
These ancient Aramaic strains remind
that all the world is sorrow—not a stage
And yet, and yet,
these—who journeyed, fresh from war,
with nothing left to carry but each other,
lift up, lift up, to keen the shapes and sounds of God!