Some Slight Ambience of Sun

Some Slight Ambience of Sun
(For the Le Guins)

Works through the sullen clouds in patches
Sanguine liquidity of sea, flat stretch of oily slate
To match our torpid state and yet and still
There is a breathless need for wind enough
Like yesterday’s reach of long horizon.

Away from land this far there are no birds
Only fishless waters too deep for lines
As thin as mindless thought.

Such endless space needs winged
Recompense of pelicans, boobies
Some frequency of frigates
After the dry reaches of land
Left so long ago behind.

On such a voyage as this, westering
Parsing the vacant wind for any
Catspaw possible, we ask what can change any
Of this and what has this or that to do with it
If after all there is no catspaw at all?

Nothing, nothing more than the whiteness
Of some mythic whale, reaching on to arctic
Bleakness of such prospects, coldness.

No! No! some one cries from the crow’s nest
Turn back my hearties, pull back through
The drift of ice, the sorriness of dreams.

Say yes, I say, claw back for brighter shores
Through Baluga passages—make for the roaring
Land across the sounding deep against the drifts
And floes of time—or else we’ll the cat or shackled
Be like Billy in the derbies, away I say, and smite
The sounding furroughs and drink the wine
Dark sea, me lads, for now and evermore.

-T.C.Buell

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