Canto

The tide is running high, my love,

The blossom’s almost done,
It falls without a sigh, my love,
Like mist dies in the sun.

The wind is blowing wild, my love,
It rattles the window pane,
It cries like a lost child, my love,
Her tears fall like the rain.

A child you’ll never know, my love,
For I could not make you stay,
You followed the high tide’s flow, my love,
And a ship took you away.

Our tears could fill the sea, my love,
Beneath this cruel sky,
For you’ll not come back to me, my love,
Though the tide is running high.

—"The running tide",
Jane Dougherty

I went down to the shouting sea,

taking Christopher down with me,
Bitter and wild is the wind tonight,
tossing the tresses of the sea to white.
On such a night as this I lie at ease;
fierce Northmen only course the quiet seas.

—Early Irish poem (unattributed)

Night with the eyes of a horse that trembles in the night,

night with eyes of water in the field asleep
is in your eyes, a horse that trembles,
is in your eyes of a secret water.

Eyes of shadow-water,
eyes of well-water,
eyes of dream-water.

Silence and solitude,
two little animals moon-led,
drink in your eyes,
drink in those waters.

If you open your eyes,
night opens, doors of musk,
the secret kingdom of the water opens
flowing from the center of night.

And if you close your eyes,
a river fills you from within,
flows forward, darkens you:
night brings its wetness to beaches in your soul.

—"Agua Nocturna (Water Night)",
Octavio Paz (translation: Muriel Rukeyser)

Spring water, Japan. Photographed by Kicub Keane (Flickr).

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Lake Lenexa Dam/Spillway. Photographed by 'yugidean'.

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via Tumblr.
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The ancient school on Luly, he learned,

was older than the name of the rock, older than the language of humans. It rose out of rock like something sculpted by wind, shaped by storm. It was never silent. Sea frothed and boomed constantly around it. Gulls with their piercing voices cried tales passed down from bards who spoke the forgotten language of birds. Seals, lifting their faces out of the waves, told other tales to the wind. Wind answered, sometimes lightly, sometimes roaring out of the northern hinterlands like the sound of all the magic there, if it had one word to speak, and a voice to speak it with. Then the rock would sing in answer, its own voice too deep to be heard, a song that could be felt, running from stone into bone, and from there into the heart, to be transformed into the language of dreams, of poetry. Rook heard the rock sing again the first night he slept there. Later, out of stone, he made his first song.

Song for the Basilisk,
Patricia A. McKillip

Vega nightfishes in the Great Sky River. Copyright © 2021

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