At the equinox when the earth was veiled in a late rain, wreathed
with wet poppies, waiting spring,
The ocean swelled for a far storm and beat its boundary, the
ground-swell shook the beds of granite.
I gazing at the boundaries of granite and spray, the established
sea-marks, felt behind me
Mountain and plain, the immense breadth of the continent, before
me the mass and doubled stretch of water.
I said: You yoke the Aleutian seal-rocks with the lava and coral
sowings that flower the south,
Over your flood the life that sought the sunrise faces ours that has
followed the evening star.
The long migrations meet across you and it is nothing to you, you
have forgotten us, mother.
You were much younger when we crawled out of the womb and
lay in the sun's eye on the tideline.
It was long and long ago; we have grown proud since then and
you have grown bitter; life retains
Your mobile soft unquiet strength; and envies hardness, the
insolent quietness of stone.
The tides are in our veins, we still mirror the stars, life is your
child, but there is in me
Older and harder than life and more impartial, the eye that
watched before there was an ocean.
That watched you fill your beds out of the condensation of thin
vapor and watched you change them,
That saw you soft and violent wear your boundaries down, eat
rock, shift places with the continents.
Mother, though my song's measure is like your surf-beat's ancient
rhythm I never learned it of you.
Before there was any water there were tides of fire, both our tones
flow from the other fountain