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post #55 of Old 01-22-2013
Call me Ishmael
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Re: Great Literary Quotes

With props to John Kretschmer who I first saw reference this one (and who has a great ear for verse):

North Sea off Carnoustie

You know it by the northern look of the shore,
by salt worried faces,
an absence of trees, an abundance of lighthouses.
It’s a serious ocean.

Along marram-scarred, sand-bitten margins
wired roofs straggle out to where
a cold little holiday fair
has floated in and pitched itself
safely near the prairie of a golf course.
Coloured lights have sunk deep into the solid wind,
but all they’ve caught is a pair of lovers
and three silly boys.
everyone else has a dog,
Or a room to get to.

The smells are of fish and of sewage and cut grass.
Oystercatchers, doubtful of habitation,
clamour weep, weep, weep, as they fuss over
scummy black rocks the tide leaves for them.

The sea is as near as we come to another world.

But there in your stony and windswept garden
a blackbird is confirming the grip of the land.
You, you, he murmurs, dark purple in his voice.

And now in far quarters of the horizon
lighthouses are awake, sending messages –
invitations to the landlocked,
warnings to the experienced,
but to anyone returning from the planet ocean,
candles in the windows of a safe earth.
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