Sunday, July 22, 2012

"So slender is the island", Long Island Poem for Sunday

'good morning' by James Johansen.
Oil on canvas.
Excerpts from Grace Schulman's introduction to her poems included in the 'Long Island Poets' collection: "From my studio window, in Springs, I see trees whose names speak of life (arbor vitae) and death (hemlock). The poems ... composed in this area ... show a tendency ... to see things of natural world as metaphors for human deeds and principles... I know that the landscape of East Hampton - of Springs, expecially - has affected me in this way... 'The Island' has to do with change and loss, drawn in the image of a spindly house built on sand."

The Island
Grace Schulman

So slender
is the island
that I can see sun ignite the bay
and strike the ocean
at the same time.
Larks sweep the sky
soon to be scarlet;
beyond shadblow trees
presumptuous catbrier climbs
a pine tree, and tall stalks
sway like metronomes,
displacing patens,
claiming the marshland.

Here I find it strange
to find peace strange.
The island
is no more real
than the moon's singularity;
it will change
as a cloud's shape
alters in wind,
as storms move dunes
and sea-spray chops
their heather.

Surely as the ocean batters
the sand's composure
prodding the shoreline inland,
this land will change
just as the boat develops out of fog
and courses through water
to carry me
from my house
on stilts in sand.

'The Island' by Grace Schulman from the 1986 'Long Island Poets' collection by The Permanent Press in Sag Harbor. Reprinted with publisher's permission.
'Long Island Poets' can be purchased from The Permanent Press.

Previous Long Island Poem for Sunday - The Old Farmer, Long Island Poem for Sunday

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