Melancholia

The Sea, the Sea! a voice cries out,
Shouting upon the waves, upon the shore
Two voices – the same, far and near,
The push and pull, come hither, flee farther.
Stand firm at the lapping cries, hissing,
Demanding, despairing, denying;
As distant as all time’s tumbling end
And so close to be the very thump –
Diastole, systole, diastole, systole –
That drives the heart here to stand.
There is no change in this unstable place,
Under the selfsame eye and fluttering breath
The various identical curls live and move
And give their being to sea and shore,
Keeping naught a form for themselves.
A crash, smash upon the sturdy stone
Then back, again, again, again, again,
The heart knows this move, this rush,
Thrashing against an unpitying world;
Dust and distance conspire, constricting
Until the Sea is shut out, the waves silenced
Into – thoughtless, careless, lifeless – perfection.
Blind world, pity thyself, pity thy happiness!
Black is the Sea and terrible, the very torturer of the earth,
Mighty unrestrained, untethered, unstopping,
Is the heart, being broken as to live, wounded
So as to be made so very whole, utterly alive,
One with the Sea, with the waves’ push and pull,
Struggle, survive, and – with every breath – listen.

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