The Poets

February 20, 2010

Atlantic Waters

It hugged the pillars of that pier
With trumpet waves that crashing sprayed
And low above it seagulls sang
To I, the priest who by it prayed

That green New Jersey ocean smelled
Of seaweed, rotted wood, and grime
But I, the priest who by it prayed
Felt nary ever better time

For seagulls loved the lapping sea
The lapping sea the seagull's song
And I the priest who prayed by both
Felt high elation ever strong



John W. May said...


I remember being at a Jersey beach at around the age of two. It was so hot outside that the sun literally caused the tar-paved walkways to bubble, which resulted in a very tangible odor of petroleum in the air. Along with that odor was the heavily dank smell of fish, seaweed, saltwater, trash, and smog-laced humidity … in short, the place was filthy.

But the ocean, which seemed to talk to me with every rumbling wave, was one of the biggest things I had ever seen. The seagulls, with their high-pitched calls, floating just above the pier and water like dragonflies, seemed utterly serene in their flight.

This last memory, which had a very specific childhood innocence attached to it, inspired this poem.

Kendra Lise said...

Chills! This is beautiful, John. I have a strong attachment to the east coast waters and this touched on so many of my favorite memories. I love the imagery, and the perspective you took. The water and the ocean air has an intense healing power that you've reminded me of.

As of April 9th, 2010