fishing nets in heap on coast of port

Wharfs and Bays

I am a woman of wharfs and bays
I always roam but never stray
Too far from water,
Too far from the shoreline
Of ocean or lakeside docks, 
Swamps or the rivers 
Running through the wild 
Flower mountainside
With it's dandelion clocks.
My roots dry up and wither
Without water,
I desiccate and dry
Without water I cannot
Reconstitute me. 
Too far inland and I feel
Totally lost at sea. 

My soul heaves the mainsail
My psyche ploughs the waves
Of years as they ebb and flow,
The ropes they fray
As another day
Goes sideways pulled under
The riptide as it goes.
The coast is my 
Memory-jogging madeleine,
My teacher of harsh lessons
Whose strict teachings
In these quiet days
I fish and trawl
Knowing I am a sailor on a 
Clipper ship heading for 
Unknown waters taking
No man's dubious orders
Nor waiting for his siren's call.

That H2O my kryptonite:
I am both afraid of the swell
And long to wallow under the
Waters fall to hear the tales
That the dropping droplets tell.
My desire, you see runs
Desert hot and dry and needs
Cool water's constant draughts
To soothe the fire and 
Dilute the bitter gall
Otherwise I could not stand
All this standing still at all. 

I am a woman of wharfs and bays
Constantly flowing downhill.
When I was a child I would walk
By the riverside and trace the tracks
Of the boats as they went over
The horizon to somewhere else,
Somewhere else much father
Which had everything I lacked.  
I am my own Cleopatra I ask no
Anthony where is my vessel, 
Or how does it float or sink, 
How does it rise and fall
And take off for the horizon
Tied by the heart-strings to
The same sails that it always was
To no great use at all.

Wharfs and bays, and the 
Turn of days about the 
Center point of ground
Remembering the day the
Sea came to greet the earth
Making a ripping sound. 
I cannot stray too far from it
But am always looking for 
The higher ground
Where I can see the ocean
And the secrets that I've found.


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