Saturday, November 29, 2014

"beneath the surface a luminous room"

The water is shallow here right out to the markers;
it's a wonderful children's beach!
And it is a pictured evening, but I wanted something tranquil and watery
to accompany Mark Strand's poem.

Mark Strand (April 11, 1934--November 29, 2014)


I have carried it with me each day that morning I took
my uncle's boat from the brown water cove
and headed for Mosher Island.
Small waves splashed against the hull
and the hollow creak of oarlock and oar
rose into the woods of black pine crusted with lichen.
I moved like a dark star, drifting over the drowned
other half of the world until, by a distant prompting,
I looked over the gunwale and saw beneath the surface
a luminous room, a light-filled grave, saw for the first time
the one clear place given to us when we are alone.

Mark Strand
Collected Poems, 
Knopf, September 2014. Kindle location 3749

Three sentences, ten lines, a clear and meaningful moment from the poet's youth. Was there a moment you remember when everything opened out for you?  Mine came as I was walking east toward the Scotia Junior High School early in the seventh grade. I don't think I could give this clear of an account: cool, clear weather, the sun above the horizon, a globe of light within my chest.

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