A Poem For Monday


“Staring at the Sea on the Day Of the Death of Another” by May Swenson:

The long body of the water fills its hollow,
slowly rolls upon its side,
and in the swaddlings of the waves,
their shadowed hollows falling forward with the tide,

like folds of Grecian garments molded to cling
around some classic immemorial marble thing,
I see the vanished bodies of friends who have died.

Each form is furled into its hollow,
white in the dark curl,
the sea a mausoleum, with countless shelves,
cradling the prone effigies of our unearthly selves,

some of the hollows empty, long niches in the tide.
One of them is mine
and gliding forward, gaping wide.

(From May Swenson: Collected Poems, Langdon Hammer, editor (The Library of America, 2013) © The Literary Estate of May Swenson. Photo by Flickr user echiner1)