A hummocky bed of algae and eelgrass blocks the rising tide. An offshore breeze raises ripples growing darker towards the horizon. A tired old swell raises long low breakers that curl and throw themselves bodily against weed arrayed in rows, deep maroon and charcoal on the tawny sand. They hit with a thump felt in the belly and reflect out to sea where they run into the next wave. And wave interpenetrates wave in direct opposition. Incoming motion, after countless hours crossing leagues of sea, meets, and passes through, a reflection of that crest that preceded it and is now rushing back out. The returning wave loses little to its quick rebound, with a thump and splash rushing out to meet it in a series of ripples, crescendo e diminuendo. The incoming wave reacts with an arching shudder rising up, exchanging speed for height, like a Bull Walrus winding up for an attack. This happens much faster than it can be described, repeating over and over as I write this, driven by the marvel of waves inter-penetrating. The force of water partially spent on sound and shaking the ground beneath my feet reflects, bounces back, and passes through its incoming brethren. The miracle of fluidity, that such a clash of direct and immediate opposition is transparent to the forces involved. Both sharing its passage in shadowed waves and ripples, in transferring opposites passing through each other, passing through changed but unobstructed, through each other and on. Each wave already an echo of a far-off action interpenetrates its echo rushing back to where it came from. The surface of the sea brushed by a fresh offshore breeze ruffling the nap of an old onshore swell that is itself corrugated by its own reflection, returning from off the dam-ed beach. Impeded, reflected by nothing more than air and water transformed by life and sunlight into this dense mat collecting at ocean’s boundary. The scene, lit by reflections of waves, trending from infrared to ultraviolet, shot from the setting sun, and bouncing back and forth through air and water. Larger waves thump, and throw up heads of curling spray as they rear-up. Their impact violent, but not aggressive. Their force passed on, not wielded in enmity. Bodies strike rhythmically, but in love transparent. As energy interpenetrates energy, and flows on. 10.06.11
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I read this poem before on your website, and have felt that it is a metaphor for human relationships within human society. Thank you for sharing it.