To My Son, Dancing Alone in the Gulf of Mexico, July 10, 2015
My son, I wish that I could break myself
into the song, the ancient one, that makes
you dance there on the continental shelf.
It rattled in the boy I was, and aches
now from the years. If I was it, not me,
then I would stay this sweet for you and free.
Like you I’ve loved Earth’s gulf-of-mexicos,
its thoraces of bug and throat of frogs,
the landings of the crane, your mother’s toes,
and all the glitz in Adam’s catalogs.
There is a music in it all. Wild, yes,
like voodoo drum, but soft as wedding dress.
Those damn red-headed ducks, I’ve even fed.
Cairina moschata, or Muscovies –
dumb birds with bloody brains outside their head.
And I have loved the salty mangrove trees,
the cedar, pine, and cypress. Loquats I
would love until their juice ran down my thigh.
But I have seen concurrently the rape
of things all sacred, full, and light. And you,
my son, will see it too. As men who ape
their fathers’ lust and greed can but construe
an earth in which to love is to devour;
an ounce of pain is just a lack of power.
Beware, my son, while dancing to refrain
of breeze, of froth, of bellowed ocean sound.
They may be watching – now – with their disdain
up on the beach – your innocence resound
and fling out what you hear to all your limbs.
Hate them. Do not take them at their grins.
The one who calls the waves to curl and crash,
amid the narrow clang of sex and cash,
calls too this always deeper, widening song.
Listen, my son, and dance against the throng.