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Full Fathom Five

Full Fathom Five

Old man, you surface seldom.
Then you come in with the tide's

coming
When seas wash cold, foam-
Capped: white hair, white beard,
far-flung,
A dragnet, rising, falling, as waves
Crest and trough. Miles long
Extend the radial sheaves
Of your spread hair, in which wrin-
kling skeins
Knotted, caught, survives
The old myth of orgins
Unimaginable. You float near
As kneeled ice-mountains
Of the north, to be steered clear
Of, not fathomed. All obscurity
Starts with a danger:
Your dangers are many. I
Cannot look much but your form
suffers
Some strange injury
And seems to die: so vapors
Ravel to clearness on the dawn sea.
The muddy rumors
Of your burial move me
To half-believe: your reappearance
Proves rumors shallow,
For the archaic trenched lines
Of your grained face shed time in
runnels:
Ages beat like rains
On the unbeaten channels
Of the ocean. Such sage humor
and
Durance are whirlpools
To make away with the ground-
Work of the earth and the sky's
ridgepole.
Waist down, you may wind
One labyrinthine tangle
To root deep among knuckles, shin-
bones,
Skulls. Inscrutable,
Below shoulders not once
Seen by any man who kept his head,
You defy questions;
You defy godhood.
I walk dry on your kingdom's border
Exiled to no good.
Your shelled bed I remember.
Father, this thick air is murderous.
I would breathe water.