Search Pattern

Due north from south
then south again
my heart flies,
unfettered but forlorn,
anxious in this unexpected space,
winging over absence
with an osprey’s climbing curl.

From east to west
frail rising hope streams light
across conviction’s shattered hull.
Adrift beyond arm’s reach
love’s oars float fruitless,
half-submerged,
splintered as the fragments of a dream.

What flotsam drifts,
preserved through night’s long tumult
to wash exhausted onto shore?

The osprey climbs.
The oars drift on.
The heart resumes its wheeling flight
due north from south
then south again
across a bowl of tears.

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Published in: on August 18, 2012 at 5:22 pm  Comments (69)  
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  1. Hello Linda;

    There must be something in the water of Texas to usher a mind to weave words of such exquisite taste. Thank you so much for starting the weekend with such inspiring verses.

    I appreciate what you do for all of us mortals.

    Enjoy the rest of the day,

    Omar.-

    • Omar,

      I don’t know if drinking Texas waters has done much for me, but I’ve certainly spent a good bit of time contemplating life on our bays and the Gulf of Mexico.

      What happens “out there” often has parallels in the lives of more land-locked souls – so I thought I’d try to express the feelings that arise when a community or person searches for someone who’s been lost. The nature of the loss hardly matters.

      I’m so glad you found the poem inspiring ~ a happy weekend to you, too!

      Linda

  2. Oh my, such sadness…it feels overwhelming.

    • June,

      Isn’t it really quite amazing, this power of words to evoke emotion? Joy, sadness, delight, anger – they’re all there, waiting for us to give them life.

      The finality of loss is sad, but I’ve always found the determination of those who commit to searching for the lost to be inspiring. Whether it’s the Coast Guard searching for a lost sailor, a family searching for a beloved pet or a rancher searching for a lost calf, the feelings aren’t so different. Sometimes the search is successful, sometimes not. But we do what we can.

      It’s great to see you! It looks like you’re getting some rain – I hope no storms come along with it.

      Linda

  3. Wow, amiga. Powerful. Did a recent event trigger this page of genius? You prove with the image that one can indeed capture great sunsets without the aid of a foreground image! Bravo! Z

    • Z,

      This is my favorite photo of “my” ocean. It’s been cropped for use here and of course reduced, but I have a larger framed version that I just love. It was taken about 30 miles offshore as we were making a run from Port Isabel to Galveston. As you can tell from the seas, it was quite a trip – those seas were high enough to be a foreground image!

      The genesis of the poem is complicated. The phrase “bowl of tears” is from a writing challenge nearly five years ago. I’ve had a friend and a few acquaintances die on the water, so there’s that.

      And of course, there are all the “absences” of life, both real and metaphorical.

      But above all, I’ve had the chance for years to watch the Coast Guard fly out from the base near me to conduct search and rescue operations. The search patterns they fly are absolutely precise – things of beauty, really. I’ve been messing with this for some time, trying to transform that precision and competence into something poetic that might speak more broadly.

      I’m so thankful for your gracious words! Muchas gracias!

      Linda

      • Beautiful, beautiful and more beautiful! You did well! Thanks!

      • The story behind the poem and the picture is as compelling as the poem itself.

        And while I have an open comment box — somewhere up there you mention your idea of a poet being able to write a poem when s/he wants to. It’s interesting to me that my assumption is the other way around, and that you’ve been touched by your Muse in the writing, which to my mind is the classic poetic experience.

        It’s late. I’m rambling. Beautiful piece!

        • Hippie Cahier,

          I do like to imagine from time to time that I have a Muse. She’s not exactly what you’d call a classic, though – I see her with her hair wrapped up a la “I Love Lucy” and, when she disappears, I always figure she’s headed off to a place like Poughkeepsie.

          In any case, however the poems happen, they’re always fun. The thing that tickled me about this one is the number of “are you all right?” emails I got, as though writing about something sad necessarily meant I was sad, despressed, grieving, and so on. Quite the opposite, actually, and thank goodness for that. If we only could write about what we’re experiencing, there would be more boring literature than there already is.

          Always love your ramblings – and I’m glad you liked the poem.

          Linda

  4. Linda,

    You did it, you made me cry.

    Beautiful poem expressing what the heart feels, but often we do not allow others to see our pained heart.
    You talk of loss and a promise of renewal, at least continuation. I can identify with this sense of sadness and loss but for me at my age, I no longer feel that sense of beginning again, of rebirth, of hope.

    Aside from my personal thoughts, I appreciate the quality of this poem, the structure, the lyrical expression of emotions. Thank you for sharing something so personal and letting others participate by adding our tears to the bowl.

    • Maria,

      Well, I’ve known people who’ve seemed incapable of tears and who were more than ready to ridicule them in others. Shakespeare got it right in “Much Ado About Nothing” when he said, “Every one can master a grief but he that has it.”

      What you suggest about the unique challenges of aging seems exactly on target to me. Increasingly I’ve been hearing people our age talk about how quickly the years are passing, how frustrating it is to realize they’ll never achieve everything they hoped for, and how easily they panic when they think to themselves, “My Lord! I may only have ten or twenty years left!”

      The only real answer I’ve found for myself lies in something Annie Dillard said in “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek”: ““How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” I don’t know how many days I’ve got left, but I’m sure not going to spend them on Facebook or watching “Pawn Stars”. The good news is that everyone gets to make their own choice. If you want to paint or read historical novels and I want to mess around with words, it’s nobody’s business but our own. ;)

      Your comments about the poem mean a lot. You know your poetry. Maybe my next one will be about a Red Ant, and make you smile!

      Linda

      • I am already smiling!

  5. What wonderful writing – oh that last line!

    • Julie, thank you so much. Wouldn’t it be wonderful one day to find that bowl empty? That’s surely what I hope for you!

      Linda

  6. How eloquently you’ve captured the loss. The photo without land in sight accompanies the sentiment well.

    • nikkipolani,

      Horizon all around can be an ambiguous sight. Some people find it exhilarating – others get vertigo. Circumstances make a difference, of course. I was happy to have the photo to share and to accompany the words.

      Linda

  7. What powerful images you’ve created! I love this, the rawness of it and the reality of losses and pain, grief and waves of sorrow. Poignant and beautiful piece of work. Thanks for this.

    • Carol,

      When reality comes to call, I suppose the first choice is whether to look, or look away. I’ve always been fascinated by people who choose to keep looking, even in the worst of circumstances – they have many lessons to teach us.

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your kind words. I’m glad you were touched by the poem.

      Linda

  8. To me, this can even refer to simply a lost love, not even to death. Just loss. And how about a lost mind, say, to Alzheimer’s, for example? Regardless, It is indeed, poetic. Your talent for poetry is beyond me . . . and it’s truly a gift to be able to think like a poet. Like a poet? Heck, you ARE a poet. What am I saying? I’ve noticed you’re writing more than ever. Have you taken a break from varnishing, my friend?

    • Wendy,

      I’m just laughing – no, I haven’t taken a break from varnishing. Don’t I wish!? And I’m not posting any more frequently than usual. Once a week seems to be a good rhythm. Sometimes it’s six days, or sometimes as much as ten if the heat bakes all the inspiration out of my brain. I don’t have to tell you what the heat’s like in August, or how tempting it can be to come home and stare at the walls!

      I agree with you completely – there are so many kinds of loss, so many absences in the world where the words of the poem could apply. Alzheimer’s and dementia, yes. Death, of course. But you know as well as anyone that the losses directly attributable to BP and the ongoing erosion of a way of life also lead to the kind of searching for answers that others might judge obsessive.

      I don’t know about being a poet. I’ve always thought real poets could – you know – write a poem when they wanted to. Mine just spring up. All of a sudden, I’ll look up and there one is, hanging out in the yard. That’s ok. I invite them up to sit on the gallery and fan themselves while I figure out what they’re supposed to do.

      Linda

  9. Linda,
    This is both beautiful and sad. My brother and father have participated in searches for lost watermen over the years. Some ended happily and some did not. There is nothing quite like need and urgency to bring a community together, and one purpose.

    I agree with Bayou Woman. This could be about other kinds of loss. That’s part of the beauty of it. The reader can decide.

    • Bella Rum,

      It doesn’t surprise me that your Dad and brother have been involved in such searches. The Coast Guard is magnificent, but when a sailboat disappears or a shrimper or fishermen get in trouble, everyone helps as they’re able. And heaven knows there are more than enough storms to cope with.

      As a side note, Satori, the Westsail 32 that was featured in the film “The Perfect Storm” landed here on Clear Lake, and was berthed in a marina where I often work. The Andrea Gail went down, and Satori didn’t, and so often that’s just the way it is.

      Bayou Woman and I are happy to have you agree with us. It’s some of those other losses that can keep our minds flying at night, trying to find an answer in the midst of such confused seas.

      Linda

  10. I got a sense of “after the storm” and of having to find lost pieces and assess damage. Life can be quite cavalier with our treasures sometimes, both things and people.

    • WOL,

      Your comment sent me straight back to the days after Ike. The recovery was long, and there wasn’t much laughter in the first weeks. But the time came when the absolute incongruity of some events had to bring laughter. I’ll never forget the day they were dredging out some of the slips in a marina and pulled up a French Provincial settee. Everyone told them to be careful – the étagère and crystal chandelier might be down there, too!

      Linda

  11. (Hope you got power back quickly)
    There is something about watching the bay (and the storm clouds roll across)
    You are so good at selecting just the right words to create mood and images.
    Every time I see/hear one of those Coast Guard go out, I can’t help but whisper a prayer for success and safe return – it’s always as risky for those searching for the ones lost.
    Nicely done! (you can always tell a writer who has been at sea)

    • Phil,

      As far as I know, I never lost power. I didn’t realize there’d been a problem until I got the email alert from the city. I got up sometime to unplug the computer and enjoyed the thunder and lightning for a bit, but that was it. Later, there was morning coffee to be had, and life was good.

      You’re absolutely right about the clouds. I just can’t get over this one. I call it the Cloud Factory – doesn’t it look like an old brick chimney at a foundry or sugar mill, spewing out steam?

      When I first started working on the lake, I couldn’t tell one helicopter from another unless they were close enough for me to read the TV station logo on the side. Now, I can tell them by sound, and don’t even have to look up. And I swear when the Coasties leave Ellington, there’s a different sound when they’re just out on patrol and when they have a serious mission ahead of them.

      Like so many of our military in so many places, we often take them for granted. What they do is so extraordinary, and yet they’ll say with that self-deprecating way that it’s just all in a day’s work. Sure, it is.

      Thanks for the good words – if you were minus electricity, I hope it’s back!

      Linda

  12. Beautiful imagery. I feel a bit of sadness, but then again, my main thought is, how wonderful this digital cyberspace is, joining us in meaningful ways, however far apart we are from south to north and west to east, transcending physical barriers to communicate and touch. Thanks for the experience, Linda.

    • Arti,

      What an interesting way to see the poem, Arti. And yet, how perfect your suggestion is. We do fly this direction and that in our cyber-space, searching for – what? Understanding? The joy of sharing? The pleasure of creation?

      Over these past years, so many of us have remarked on the strength of the ties that have emerged among us. I suspect the original web designers never imagined that, but then – in the beginning, neither did we.

      Linda

  13. Sad, but beautiful. Would love to read this while listening to Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” (which, by the way, is my favorite piece of classical music). Your poem and Beethoven’s piece evoke the same mood…

    ~ Matt

    • Matt,

      The “Moonlight Sonata” is a good accompaniment for this poem. I like the version by Glenn Gould very much, although some have criticized it for being “too fast”. I’d rather say it flows, and carries the listener more insistently than very slow, “meditative” versions.

      I’m so glad you liked the poem, and how generous of you to say it evokes the same feeling as the music. That pleases me tremendously.

      Linda

      • No matter how it’s played, fast or slow, it’s a beautiful piece of classical music that never fails to move me. Thank you, Linda, for sharing…

        ~ Matt

  14. Hi Linda, What a moving poem. Good to meet you this year. Ellen

    • Ellen,

      The pleasure’s all mine, although I must confess to a tiny bit of jealousy over those cooler temperatures you’re already having!

      Poetry is a great connector, isn’t it? I’m glad you enjoyed this one.

      Linda

  15. This comes to me like its own dream, heavy and sad and full of someone’s truth. I’ve never lost anyone at sea, but just this morning I learned about a boy killed on Lake Superior by lightning. So much meaning floats in bodies of water, doesn’t it? Lovely, Linda.

    • Emily,

      And now we have the death of filmmaker Tony Scott, who chose to lose himself in water. The search for his body wasn’t difficult. The search for meaning may be more so.

      When I hear of deaths like that of the young boy, I always think of Auden’s “Musee Des Beaux Arts”, with its imaginative use of the Icarus mythology and these marvelous lines:

      “In Brueghel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
      Quite leisurely from the disaster; the plowman may
      Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
      But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
      As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
      Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
      Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
      Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.”

      Linda

      • The Auden poem that you mention reminds me of two others. Last August I quoted the oldest of the two, by the 16th-century French poet Philippe Desportes:

        http://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/2011/08/07/living-amber-exacts-its-deadly-toll/

        The other, “Out, Out,” by Robert Frost, ends with the words

        … And they, since they
        Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.

        I wonder if Auden knew of the Frost poem, or vice versa.

        • Delightful (?) to see those two poor ants in the sunflower, as well as to read Desportes’ poem. The power of the Icarus myth is everywhere.

          I hadn’t read “Out, Out” in quite some time. It was written in 1916, “Museé Des Beaux Arts” in 1938. It’s fun to ponder whether Auden might have known the Frost. My own imagination says “yes”, and that he carried that phrase “turned to their affairs” around with him for years until it turned into something wholly his own.

          Every time I read Frost I’m surprised again by the contemporary feel of his words. I hardly could believe that poem was written in 1916.

  16. Lovely lovely – I felt adrift & searching in just this way when my mom died. She was literally the hub of the wheel of our family – her death sent the spokes in all directions. We’ve never really mended…

    • The Bug,

      I was part of the Tinker Toy generation, long before Legos and such. Your words about your mom reminded me of a childhood experience. I had built a marvelous “something” – no idea now what it was – and it was perfect, the best Tinker Toy project ever. A little friend reached over and knocked it down. Who knows the reason?

      In any event, I tried and tried for days to rebuild it just as it was, and never could. I can only imagine how much harder it would be to see the spokes of your family go flying, or how difficult to rebuild.

      Adrift and searching… more a part of life than we care to admit sometimes.

      Linda

  17. Linda,
    Your photo is so hauntingly beautiful. I love how you’ve captured the enormity of the endless water, the power of the waves, and the warmth of the sun.

    I love your poetry. I reread the poem while listening to “Moonlight Sonata” and it got me in my gut.

    I was saddened to learn that you were inspired to write this after friends died at sea. That’s awful.

    • dearrosie,

      My first offshore trip was so remarkable and quirky that I got over any anxieties about being “out there” pretty quickly. After that, the emptiness of the sea and sky was a nearly irresistible draw – but how quickly it can change when things go wrong.

      One of the little ironies about death at sea is how many people talk about seeking precisely that. I know several people who say, faced with a terminal disease or other end-of life issues, they’d get on their boat and simply sail off into the sunset. Given a choice between that and being hooked up to monitors in a hospital room for months on end, I might make the same decision.

      On a more humorous note, we can’t forget those who try to fake a death at sea, so they can abscond to a country that doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the U.S.! I’ve known one of those, too. Life on the water is sometimes sad, sometimes hilarious – but it’s always interesting.

      Linda

  18. Several phrases stand out for me, which is often the case when I read your pieces, but let me single out “conviction’s shattered hull.” It made me think about the way a conviction that a person holds can form a kind of hull. That hull keeps the person afloat and is often impenetrable, but if something should happen to shatter it, the result is an emotional shipwreck.

    If I can drift just a bit away from your poem, but not away from the subject of convictions, I’ll add that last night I read an article in the New York Times that had the subtitle (at least in the print edition) “Changing a strongly held belief has little to do with actual facts.”

    The Mind of a Flip-Flopper

    • Steve,

      “Emotional shipwreck” is a remarkably exact term. I think of my mother, who lived with the conviction that my dad always would be there to care for her – until he died. She went on to live without him for thirty years, but she floated around a good while before we realized she wasn’t as functional as she seemed.

      The article you linked was well worth the read. I couldn’t help noticing the small superscription above the title: “Eureka”. The first article of Jonah Lehrer’s that I read, and the one that made me an immediate fan, was titled “The Eureka Effect”. I still haven’t gotten over his shenanigans.

      I’ve always thought of “flip-flopping” and real attitudinal change as being quite distinct. Years ago I had a friend who was the essence of a flip-flopper. No matter which group she was socializing with, its values and convictions were hers. In this age of YouTube and smart phones, it’s harder – if not impossible – for politicians to get away with that sort of thing.

      I particularly enjoyed seeing in print an affirmation of something I’ve always believed: “Whether you’re changing your own mind or someone else’s, the key is emotional, persuasive storytelling.”

      And then there’s what isn’t said in this article. The data, the arguments and the conclusions included by Ms. Koerth-Baker all could be used to bolster an argument that the pervasive violence in films, video games and such are turning us into a more violent society. We may have a “gun problem”, but we also have a culture problem, and no amount of regulation of any sort will solve that one.

      As for changing one’s mind for utilitarian reasons – that was my grandma. I grew up Methodist because she got tired of the Klan not being able to sort out Lutherans from Catholics. Dogma-schmogma, said grannie. John Wesley’s my man. There’s another story worth telling.

      Thanks for the great link!

      Linda

  19. There is something lost and lonely about this poem, as melancholy as the waves in the picture.
    I rather respond to melancholy, being of a melancholy frame of mind myself, so this poem answers something in me which is constantly on the search for I know not what.

    • friko,

      The phrase “searching for answers” suddenly came to mind as I read your comment. I still remember my response some years ago to an expected and terribly painful event. The mind does go hither and yon, trying not only to make sense of things but also to discover the path forward. It can take some time, which is why “lost and lonely” seems exactly right to describe the experience.

      So much of life does resonate with melancholic overtones. We have so many words for its varieties, too: poignant, reflective, nostalgic. In their own way, each can be emotionally satisfying – strange, but true.

      Linda

  20. Your beautiful poem put words to a feeling lots of up here have had recently. It’s about a young man who went for a hike in Glacier and has never come back. His family has finally become reconciled to the knowledge that his life must have come to an end in a very beautiful place and one that he loved. Yet I think that the feeling in their hearts is captured in your last verse.

    • montucky,

      I’m so sorry about the young man. I had read about a fellow from Michigan who was working at a lodge in Glacier and who disappeared on a hike. I’m wondering if that’s the one. No matter. The loss of anyone is equally poignant and distressing, particularly when so many questions remain.

      I have a sudden impulse to say, “Be careful”. But of course you are, and far more experienced in that beautiful wildness.

      For some reason your comment brought to mind something Dillard wrote in “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek” – ““God is subtle, but not malicious, . . . nature conceals her mystery by means of her essential grandeur, not by her cunning”. That’s right. And absence is as much part of that grandeur as presence.

      Linda

  21. Beautiful. I’m all out of words, though, so shall have to leave it at that.

    • Val,

      I’m glad you found it beautiful. That’s enough to please me immensely.

      Linda

  22. I keep coming back to read the poem, thinking each time that I’ll come up with the exact right way to say how much I like it . . . but once more words fail me, floating away like love’s splintered oars.

    • Gerry,

      I was interested to discover the USCG Air Station for Lake Michigan is in Traverse City. I ran my eye down the list of recent news articles about their activities. It all sounded very familiar.

      The fact that you’d come back to read the poem more than once does just fine as an expression of appreciation. I’m glad you like it.

      Linda

  23. My goodness, Amiga! I wasn’t the only one who was touched by your brilliance! You’ve been busy answering comments!

    Here’s some more homework, if you’re one to participate in these awards: The Booker Award

    Btw, what’s “Pawn Stars?” = I’m almost scared to know!
    z

    • Zee,

      How kind of you! I’ll look forward to exploring the award and the other bloggers whom you’ve chosen. I’m so pleased you thought of me. I confess to doing a double-take at first, as the first thing that crossed my mind was the Man Booker Prize for fiction – but I think I have to write a novel to qualify for that!

      Oh, “Pawn Stars”. It’s one of those reality-television series, about a family business in Las Vegas called something like Gold & Silver Pawn. It’s just so dramatic – lots of footage of people bringing in items to pawn, then haggling over the price. If you ever find a DVD of one of its seasons, don’t bother!

      Thanks again – I’m looking forward to exploring all this!

      Linda

  24. How immense are the coastal waters you photograph! I love this poem on a personal level and yet also, as you explained on a very logistical level as our Coast Guard seek those lost at sea. This is so very sobering.

    I learn so much from you with just a mention of a word or image. The osprey is a native of Florida and now I learn of our Texas coast, too.

    I have read this offering several times. And I must say after hearing the news of the death of Neil Armstrong, this poem makes me think of our space program, what it once was and how it flourished only to come to a very public end July 2011.

    Linda, you are so very talented. Just as I thought that you have mastered prose in the essay, you offer up a gem of a poem that can be read on so many levels. With yesterday’s news it fits again, proving how universal it is. Well done.

    • Georgette,

      The osprey are among my favorite birds. Every fall I wait for them to return. Their song and calls are beautiful and unmistakable, and I always hear them before I see them. For three years now, a pair has done their fishing from adjoining masts in a marina. I hope they’re back this year.

      I don’t know how I missed reading or hearing the speech William Safire wrote for Nixon to deliver in the event Armstrong and Aldrin didn’t make it off the moon. I found it here today after hearing a discussion of Neil Armstrong’s life and death. All of our astronauts and those who support them are extraordinary people. It saddened me immensely to see that our President chose to add his own photo to his words marking Armstrong’s death. That’s all right. Armstrong’s life and achievements can stand on their own.

      I’m so glad you liked the poem, and that you helped me read it in a new way! I like the poem, too – I hope I can write another one some day.

      Linda

  25. Linda,

    I have been here at the edge of your powerful poem, dipping a toe in one day, splashing in knee-deep the next. There is so much there about experiencing and trying to come to terms with loss. It’s too difficult to go all the way in.

    We know the deep, tumultuous water is the real truth, but don’t we like trying to feel in control, searching over it in a grid pattern, fooling ourselves?

    Claudia

    • Claudia,

      Watching the boats go out into the surging waters of hurricane Isaac to search for the people who had been caught in their houses and on the levee, it was clear that “the deep, tumultuous water is the real truth”.

      It’s equally clear that we’re often compelled to keep searching even when we know the time for searching is over. Sometimes it seems the searching itself is the comfort, no matter the result.

      Linda

  26. The ocean being a ‘bowl of tears’ reminds me of a little poem a friend wrote me once:
    “A woman’s scorn; a man forlorn,
    The pulse of a million years.
    These are the things that make the sea,
    As it fills with a billion tears.”
    tc good 1971

    The math is probably underestimated. I think your soaring, searching heart must be the female counterpart in sentiment.

    Your poem is wistful and soft and hopeful.

    • Judy,

      Your friend’s verse is lovely, although I smiled at and agreed with your assessment that the math may be underestimated. And how I love your use of the word “wistful”. There’s a quality we don’t see much these days. It’s too ephemeral, too delicate an emotion. There’s certainly not much room for it in pop culture. But in the end, it is hopeful.

      I hope you didn’t suffer from Isaac. The flooding in some areas was remarkable – I hope he saved some for his trek through the midwest.

      Linda

      • Stopping back by as this post kind of stays in the mind and all the nice thoughtful comments too!

        First though: Our area..Broward County, FL fared ok with TS Isaac..mucho bands of rain, some minor flooding and just me speaking…I enjoyed the drenching and the gloom. Thank you for thinking of us and I hope that there was some silver lining in the form of some moisture for Texas.

        Second: In spirit and mostly practice, I agree with the statements of skipping the mind numbing, time sucking occupation of Facebook and Reality TV…I mean ‘reality’ whose descriptor is that?? But, Pawn Stars does offer some of what I enjoy of Antiques Roadshow….with those items people bring in for valuation….you get some great history of the items and expert opinions on why they are or are not the real thing. Perhaps better ways to get history but nonetheless that one has some redeeming elements. Well, before we gave up cable..I loved Dangerous Catch.

        Lastly: When I posted the previous comment there was another thing your poem brought strongly to mind but for some reason I avoided mentioning it. There is a reason for that…I don’t that often have emotional reactions to books–even true ones. But since it keeps reminding..especially these lines….

        “What flotsam drifts,
        preserved through night’s long tumult
        to wash exhausted onto shore?

        of a book entitled: ‘Ten Degrees of Reckoning’ by Hester Rumberg about the Sleavin family. If you have not, I can promise a read you will not put down. I can also promise you will never be able to forget it.

        • Ah – Broward. I have a friend in Lauderhill, so I got a blow-by-blow account and plenty of pics. I’m glad there was no more damage.

          My mom was a great Antiques Roadshow fan. I always thought they should hook up the folks from Hoarders with the Pawn Stars folks. Possibilities abound. I will confess a fondness for Swamp People that started with my introduction to Bayou Fabio.

          I’d not heard of the Sleavin family’s experience – or simply forgot it. It happened during the time I still was building my business, and I was fairly well focused on that, even though I was still sailing. I’ve read enough news accounts now to understand the connection you draw with those lines from the poem. I may have to read the book simply because I have so many questions about conditions, equipment, etc. it certainly can happen. Friends in a sailboat made contact with a freighter in the Gulf. If their boat hadn’t been steel, it could have been quite a different story. As it was, they slid along the side of the ship, sparks flying, and ended up only with damaged spreaders. Good gosh.

          Thanks for the tip on the book!

  27. Ah, lovely words, as always.

    • Martha,

      Thanks so much – you know I appreciate your kind words.

      Linda

  28. How lovely and melancholy—tugging the heart—at the same time, both poem and image. Makes one wistful as such the feeling when staring at a sunset while in remembrance. This poem has layers and can be taken in meaning in different ways…. depends on the heart of the reader. I loved your poem in feeling tone and weaving words. Wonderful, Linda. Thank you.

    • Anna,

      There are so many spaces in the world – the ocean, of course, but also those horizon-to-horizon fields you photograph. It doesn’t surprise me at all that you’d respond to this one. You often capture the same experience and evoke the same feelings with your photography.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it – thank you.

      Linda

  29. My friend, this sounds sad and lonely and filled with longing. Your words touch me deeply.

    • jeanie,

      I can’t help but think about that huge space left by Gypsy’s going and feel a little sad, myself. Still, I think we’re called to honor the absences of life, just as we delight in life’s presence.

      Sometimes I think we try to fill our spaces too quickly. Clearly, a time of searching can help us know which direction to go next.

      Linda

  30. absolutely beautiful

    • Thanks, sherri. Sometimes I hardly can believe I wrote it.


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