Three poems on the landscapes of identity

“Does not everything depend on our interpretation of the silence around us?” — Lawrence Durrell

 

The sea was one…

The sea was one,

its places were many in the

occasions they provided…

 

Lesson one.

 

It was here and now

and it was simply there,

front and center or

just behind the curtains

of our mind…

 

Lesson two.

 

It carried the same chemical

compounds as our blood,

but that was knowledge

acquired later,

explaining

why

lessons one and two

still endure…

 

Lesson three.

 

The sea

always asks for fresh

attention

because the sea,

as life,

Is sacred.

 

*

 

Rocks have no imagination…

Rocks have no imagination encapsulated

in them;

born as they are

of the tectonic necessity to accommodate

movement of the earth’s crust.

 

Stones, on the other hand

come out of rocks

as an act of imagination

brought forth

by ingenuity.

 

Nature may do as she likes,

man is the only one,

as Ben Shahn wrote,

to add surprise …

may I add:

for our pleasure!

 

Saying so

is akin to saying:

we see our nature

inscribed in the stones

shaped by our

imagination …

 

Much to our

surprise,

and borrowed pleasure.

 

*

 

We did not come from Ur…

We did not come from Ur.

 

We just drifted in like the

sand on the patriarch’s soles.

 

We were a different kind of sand.

 

Closer to the beach

than to the desert,

we took to the water’s edge

better than to the wind crossed

dunes.

 

Like so much

social mulch

we traded and

prayed for the

desert soil to bloom;

 

but the sap was running low

and the seeds were

spilled like so many

grains of sand

in wounded souls.

 

“What kind of bird

would now be born

to the wounded

one?”

— H. Dorion

 

 

 

Bibliographic note

Dorion, H. Ravir: les lieux, La Différence, 2005

Durrell, L. Justine, Faber and Faber, London, 1960

 

 

Credit feature image to Maurice Amiel

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