October 11, 2010

Spanner had spent a lazy summer swimming in
long circles in the tidal currents, in
the little sea between the barrier
island they now called Earthcutt Island and
the larger island, Long Island, itself
a barrier to horizon-forming North
all of which he could now see, sitting shotgun
in a Cessna 173, set to
land in a land so blue it must be
his concoction….

Look to the south. The sky and sea were as blue as
he could imagine. He could see the beach
where he’d parked his car. He could see
a ‘family’ of kayakers along the coast.

Spanner is a collector of collective nouns.
A ‘flock’ of seagulls—or a ‘cloud’ of seafowl—flew
into the ocean’s deep emptiness.
That ‘family’ of kayaks is his invention,
sure, floating there among the weeds.
But look again—this time
he sees a ‘congeries’ of currents that
must have been there all along—
for the air and ocean can be nothing
but this congeries. We swim
in it, we float in it.  We live and try to live
in both. ‘And don’t you forget,’ Spanner would
tell the boats below, if he could,
 ‘you can die out there, die
before you find the land, swept out to sea…’

The kayakers wave hello. The Cessna tilts
its wings as if to say,
Hello to all above. Hello to all below.
And hello to Earthcutt Island—so savvy here today—these beaches,
the sand horizon, the makeshift runway
where they will land—

Yes, he could be here today, Spanner could,  just as
the congeries could again lift its collective breath,
in brief, as Spanner breathes, to breathe again…              
It could.

For John Lennon (9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980)
‘Picture yourself on a boat on a river…’


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