When I Return from the Sea

From cathedrals below the sea
dark images float up
in the bellies of fish,
devouring sunlight
on the rippling surface
before descending with color
to undersea grottoes.
One day they will rise
and I will go down
to visit the spires
and vaulted stone arches,
to suffer my thanks
for the gifts of safe crossing.
Kneeling in the depths
I will ask for my life
knowing she will grant it
and when I return
I’ll give you the story.
Dark images, painted with color
in a symphony of silence,
that’s what I’ll give you
when I return from the sea.























Reading of “When I Return from the Sea” with music by Sting


6 Responses to “When I Return from the Sea”

  1. Beautiful, Don — there’s no coming back from such a journey unchanged, is there?. A symphony of silence is the only way to describe what happens down there. Thank you.

  2. John Albright says:

    Don, I just returned from just such an adventure. It’s a humbling journey to go to the depths and find new life. This is beautiful.

  3. Mike McCauley says:

    Don — I love this poem of yours. One of my favorite passages in all of literature is Chapter 23 of Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick.” It is entitled “The Lee Shore.” Here is how it ends:

    “Know ye now, Bulkington? Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?

    But as in landlessness alone resides highest truth, shoreless, indefinite as God- so better is it to perish in that howling infinite, than be ingloriously dashed upon the lee, even if that were safety! For worm-like, then, oh! who would craven crawl to land! Terrors of the terrible! is all this agony so vain? Take heart, take heart, O Bulkington! Bear thee grimly, demigod! Up from the spray of thy ocean-perishing- straight up, leaps thy apotheosis!”

    Sometimes, excellent prose is very much like good poetry! Mike

  4. John Connor says:

    I can’t even pinpoint why this speaks to me, but it does, Don. Thank you.

  5. Steve Frankel says:

    Thank you Don
    A dream not that long ago, maybe 20 years.
    Trying to climb a mountain but armies descending from both sides. I turned to flee and nothing but a deep cavern with running river. A penguin took my hand and we dove together into the abyss and deep into the waters. And to my amazement, I could breathe!

  6. Sylvia McAfee says:

    Don, It is so nice to be reading your poetry again. I hope all is well with you.

Leave a Reply