05 May 2008

Nothing is weirder, scarier, cooler, or more beautiful than the Sea, or as its lovers call it, la mar

But the bird was almost out of sight now and nothing showed on the surface of the water but some patches of yellow, sun-bleached Sargasso weed and the purple, fomralized, iridescent, gelatinous bladder of a Portuguese man-of-war floating close beside the boat. It turned on its side and then righted itself. It floated cheerfully as a bubble with its long deadly purple filaments trailing a yard behind it in the water.

"Agua mala," the man said. "You whore."

From where he swung lightly againt his oars he looked down into the water and saw the tiny fish that were coloured like the trailing filaments and swam between them and under the small shade the bubble made as it drifted. They were immune to its poison. But men were not and when some of the filaments would catch on a line and rest there slimy and purple while the old man was working a fish, he would have welts and sores on his arms and hands of the sort that poison ivy and poison oak can give. But these poisoning for the agua mala came quickly and struck like a whiplash.

THe iridescent bubbled were beautiful. but the were falsest thing in the sea and the old amn loved to see the big sea turtles eating them. The turtles saw them, approaced them from the front, then shut their eyes so they were completely carapaced and ate them filaments and all. The old man loved to see the turtles eat them and he loved to walk on them on the beach after a stormand hear them pop when he stepped on them with the horny soles of his feet.

He loved green turtles and hawk-bills with their elegance and speed and their great value and he had a friendly contempt for the huge, stupid loggerheads, yellow in the armour-plating, strange in ther love-making, and happily eating the Portuguese men-of-war with their eyes shut.

He had no mysticism about turtles although he had gone in turtle boats for many years. He was sorry for them all, even the great trunk backs that were as long as the skiff and weighed a ton. Most people are heartless about turtles because a turtle's heart will beat for hours after he has been cut up and butchered. But the old man thought, I have such a heart too and my feet and hands are like theirs. He ate the white eggs to give himself strength. He ate them all through May to be strong in September and October for the truly big fish.

-Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

Did he say that turtles make love? What a weirdo. Strangely enough, I did, too, in a poem I've been thinking about since I visited the goats the other day. Here are two poems from 1999-2000 when I first developed my live in the country and have a simple life dream.


Ancestry spins and u n r a v e l s
this circle here now
the poetry of mud
of dirt of rain

the song we all sing
the night we sink in
the circles we dance by evasive chance

questions and riddles and banjoes and fiddles
and cats that meow symphonies we love

when the dishes all crack and the towel is left wet
tears may be spilt but the redeeming is left to get

slow tangoes in the dark
the microcosm kitchen
with pots and pans
and old wooden chairs
that whisper wisdom and immortality

the dusk inhales us
as we descend to the road
mindclearing and birdhearing
the rustle must be heard

turtles make love out in the copse
and amphibians serenade each other to the crickets' raking violin rhythms
that crawl the night
clockless serene


I have a prayer
and if you promise not to tell anyone
I'll tell it to you

it begins with a kiss
or perhaps a grasp of the hand
a box of rain and an open plain
dirt and grass and weeds

there are cows and milk
and uneven floors
with cracks to the past
that leak imagination

dolls for my girls
who play with the dryads
they whisper and sing and smile
and we love

Jamian is another sort of fellow
with ravens for hair and eternity for eyes
he lives in his mind

I love them all
and we dance ot crooked flames

the mud is so nice
it feels so good 'tween the toes
and there's nothing so nice
as a red ears and nose

the sun comes up and the sun goes down
and we sit
and stare
and the flame is always there
her beauty never dies
her light is my force

rocking chairs and smoke
philosophy and talk
and a riverside walk
the water babbles
and trickles

the babies are tickled
the wheat never sickled
and the moon has us all
round and round but never down

(c) 1999 Kevin Larkin (Angioli)

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