All this month, I've been featuring poets from my home state, Maryland.
We've been feeling at sea in my house lately. Both of my children are winding down at their schools and getting ready for their next adventures: high school and middle school.
My daughter can't wait to join her middle school TV studio and book club. But today, she was embarrassed when all the fifth grade girls were lectured about appropriate dress (if you have cleavage, keep it to yourself).
In Lalita Noronha's poetic hands, "At Sea," has a very different meaning from the one my family is experiencing. The ocean in her poem is real -- alien, but comforting in the sense of welcome the speaker feels.
by Lalita Noronha
Buoyed by memory,
we float a hundred feet beneath the sea,
arms spread wide to glide past years that
disappeared into a long good night.
Beating like soft hearts,
clouds of jelly fish rise.
Sea lions come to tickle our hands,
whiskers soft as hair.
Behind the kelp,
suspended like a question mark,
a sea horse stares
and dares us to forget.
And in this blue cosmos,
at least for one moment,
the skin of a sea-tulip blooms pink,
a hundred feet beneath the sea,
Published with permission of the author.
This poem first appeared in JMWW, Winter 2008; http://jmww.150m.com/Noronha.html (A great journal to submit work to, by the way.)
Writing Exercise (Upper Elementary - Adult):
Many of us have had these "without corners/without edges/without ends" moments when we connect with animals.
When the speaker in "At Sea" touches sea lions and comes face to face with sea horses, it gives him or her a sense of timelessness.
Write about a time when you connected with an animal (or other living creature -- a tree?) and felt this way.
One of my favorite poems on this theme is "A Blessing" by James Wright. It's posted at the Poetry Foundation.
Another Maryland poet is hosting Poetry Friday today! I can hardly stand the serendipity. Please visit Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference for the last round-up of NPM 2011.