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Seaward

Summer 2017 - Vol. 59, No. 3

 

This poem appears in the Summer 2017 issue of Modern Age. To subscribe now, go here.


 

Kneel on the stones,
the sea commands.
Then cup your hands
in the shallow tide.
Quench your thirst
with stinging brine.
No taste more bitter
nor truer than mine.

Savor the blessings
of my refusal.
No argosy
will satiate
the hungers of
your restlessness.
No harbor house
your homelessness.

The empty lighthouse
flanks the sound,
mute memorial
to the drowned.
Stand on the dock
as the ocean swells.
Death is what happens
to somebody else.

 

Dana Gioia is the author of five books of poetry, including 99 Poems: New and Selected (2016). He is the former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.