This entry is part 14 of 34 in the series Small World


Lightning roots deep into the sand,
donning an instant sheath of glass:
a seemingly pointless exercise in self-glove.
Clap of thunder.

Could it be, though, that radiance tires of itself?
Nowhere in the alleged blackness of space
is there any relief from the ticking,
pulsing, clusterfucks of stars
except on cold planets.
Who can blame lightning
for burrowing in like a tick?
Even we humans, full of darkness as we are,
go on pilgrimage to the ocean,
dream of girls with gills,
get buried up to our necks in sand
or swim with porpoises, whose
capacity for joy we suspect
of exceeding our own.
We go back to the sea like adopted children
paying a visit to our birth mother,
hoping that she’ll show some sign
she regrets giving us up:
some whelk, some dead star.
We tell prospective partners how
we love long walks on the beach
because it’s the deepest thing
we can think to say.

But only someone who knows the shore
well enough to recognize what she doesn’t know
will stop to pick up an odd
sandstone lump, & find
that it hides black glass.
She’ll sight through the short smooth tube,
hold it up to the sun like a sextant.

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7 Replies to “Fulgurite”

  1. Dave – I so enjoyed this. Conceptually strong, and your poetry sparks up everything I know and love of the sea and the beach.
    A very refreshing read for me today.
    Thank you.

  2. My recent vacation, Dave, was one such pilgrimage to the sea (whence we come, like birth mothers), and I did find what Luisa was saying in her “Essay on White” response. Truly what T.S. Eliot prescribed in Little Gidding (four Quarters), “A condition of complete simplicity/ (Costing not less than everything)/ And all shall be well…” But entrances and exits in our explorations are not all “white” lest we forget the truly splendoured thing—the “radiance” we will never tire of when we finally unite with it. Yes, when “the fire and rose are one.” Yes, Chardin’s Christogenesis. Yes, Francis Thompson’s “Hound of Heaven” finally overtaking the hounded, where he finds out finally that he is running further away from where he was really going, “and know the place for the first time.” Yes, the Hound bites him benignly. He finds his forsaken paradise, whence he was evicted. A simplicity which sounds so complicated? No. It is complete. Finis.

    (My wife did not understand why I kept looking out of our ship’s balcony as our cruise moved away from Avignon, France. There, I was confused and astounded by the sad opulence of the Palais du Papes (the double-palace— over-enhanced, over-built castle– once occupied by the schismatic Popes Clement, Benedict, etc. ) now an empty monument of ruins to the papal fights—the other Pope remained in Rome). I assured my wife, I was not thinking of that other condition of simplicity. Exiting for me at this point is still a condition of complexity. (:–P)

    Bravo for this, Dave! Thanks.

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