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An Ending Analysis



Author: poem of Philip Levine Type: poem Views: 8

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                       Early March.

The cold beach deserted. My kids

home in a bare house, bundled up

and listening to rock music

pirated from England. My wife

waiting for me in a bar, alone

for an hour over her sherry, and none

of us knows why I have to pace

back and forth on this flat

and birdless stretch of gleaming sand

while the violent air shouts

out its rags of speech. I recall

the calm warm sea of Florida

30 years ago, and my brother

and I staring out in the hope

that someone known and loved

would return out of air and water

and no more, a miracle a kid

could half-believe, could see

as something everyday and possible.

Later I slept alone and dreamed

of the home I never had and wakened

in the dark. A silver light sprayed

across the bed, and the little

rented room ticked toward dawn.

I did not rise. I did not go

to the window and address

the moon. I did not cry

or cry out against the hour

or the loneliness that still

was mine, for I had grown

into the man I am, and I

knew better. A sudden voice

calls out my name or a name

I think is mine. I turn.

The waves have darkened; the sky's

descending all around me. I read

once that the sea would come

to be the color of heaven.

They would be two seas tied

together, and between the two

a third, the sea of my own heart.

I read and believed nothing.

This little beach at the end

of the world is anywhere, and I

stand in a stillness that will last

forever or until the first light

breaks beyond these waters. Don't

be scared, the book said, don't flee

as wave after wave the breakers rise

in darkness toward their ghostly crests,

for he has set a limit to the sea

and he is at your side. The sea

and I breathe in and out as one.

Maybe this is done at last

or for now, this search for what

is never here. Maybe all that

ancient namesake sang is true.

The voice I hear now is

my own night voice, going out

and coming back in an old chant

that calms me, that calms

-- for all I know -- the waves

still lost out there.






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