of exile and the coast of maine

a gull flying toward me
a father’s broken hand
rises gray and white into the wind

she and i are back on the maine coast
to wonder why it turned out this way
to take the bad wood out of a home i built
forty years ago for the kids
replace with firm then caulk and paint
where in bed we listen to the sea is up
in darkness

the ocean’s steady roar is constancy
acorns hitting the metal roof ping
become so many drops of rain crashing
it’s the wind’s fault with the big pine tops
swaying back and forth “excuse us
for blocking the sky” flatters
my insignificance accepted

it’s frustrating to have awareness
bound up in self and no way
to make it like the wind or the trees swaying
or the overcoming by raindrops
or a moment of first kissing her
it’s like this a bit to share a poem
to not be cut off shut out closed down
the trees are friends

amid outbursts of sun
it rains thoroughly
another night with dialogue of lightning and thunder
makes the woods too white
the thunder noise with no meaning
up the coast and back
through the hours in waves
of a more vast colossal sea
that lasts with us or without
to horizons beyond our comprehension
the trees are friends

the sea floods with lack of understanding
art and poetry touched something
that hurt them
beauty makes you feel
there was kindness if profit
moments of truth and goodness
finding berries near the woods
apples in the tree
the cherries came in

she and i would have died poor
ten twenty years ago
the trees are friends the ocean
wild and crazy to the horizon
a comfort

John Bart Gerald is a poet/journalist living in Montreal. He writes the website nightslantern.ca concerned with the prevention of genocide. Read other articles by J. B..