Hook

Poem by Steve Kronen

… my eldest girl has had low fever, …. We shall soon have to take her to sea-side…. An innocent & good man stands under tree & is killed by flash of lightning. If the death of neither man or gnat are designed, I see no good reason to believe that their first birth or production shd. be necessarily designed. Yet… I cannot persuade myself that electricity acts, that the tree grows, that man aspires to loftiest conceptions all from blind, brute force.   

          — Your muddled & affectionate friend, Ch. Darwin

         

 

Sophocles, long

    ago,

       on the Aegean,

 

heard tones:

   dread,

      heartbreak, and suffering

 

from the oxygen-

   thick water

      that, gill-extracted,

 

brightens

   to wine-red

     each tiny lung

 

of fish in

   each vision-

      refracted

 

pond.

   Their lips’

      stupid stutter

 

O O O

   my own

     opened

 

mouth sputter

  when grace

      intercepts

 

(the phone’s,

   low

      penetrating din,

               

the sudden

   news sweetly conveyed,

      off its hook)

 

and some blindness

   is lightened,

      some brute

 

force

   stayed

      by an unforeseen

 

and intervening

   kindness.

      Now, currents,

 

at odds
   with the undertow,

     whelm.

 

The sun sets
  
soon.

      And look,

 

some clever

   gods

      have scattered

 

their doubloons,

   (each glints,

      a tooth

 

beneath the moon).

   Let’s,

      love, toss

 

our nets

   across

      the buffeting

 

surface.

   Only, some creatures,

       amid their green,

 

are risen

   to all fours,

      a sapling,

 

lightning-cleaved,

   singed

      and toppling

 

on their shore.

   Sophiemy daughter

       her forehead

 

I believe

   left untinged

       by fever 

 

dreams a darkling

   plain of water.

      Some animal bellows.

 

Its grating roars,

   story-like, cease

      and then begin

 

by seas

   sparkling,

      vast and calm

 

and furrowed

   by the golden-section

      of a fin.