Autumn 1960 • Vol. XXII No. 4 Poetry |

On the Beach at Noon

Reading the Iliad on the beach as Whitman recommended Blending land, sea, air in splendidly cantilevered lines, pivoted On a spit of sand, taking fire from the everlasting sun overhead I lift my eyes from the thick intermediate surf-work—Deep blue ocean from antiquity pales to turquoise, then green,The wave curls, holding all colors uplifted like the inside of a shell Dying away in shallows, frivolous, mottled, puzzled, and shifting—To scan the horizon for signs of Greece, remembering long poems, men, and gods. Gods a-plenty people the sapphire air, light, warmth, movement, Cross-currents, floats, checks and disasters, poems of the elements In suspension or combination or collision, and for heroes college boys Tossing a football against the coming season, wheeling and feinting, Breaking and blocking, or drifting face-down beyond the surf-line, Masks, foot-fins, spears, snorkels, brown and relaxed as kelp-wash. So the old poet, blind and archaic, out of his memories of se

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