Poem of the Week: “vessels”

I found this poem this morning as I was going through my notebooks from last year, and being in a Love-filled mood this morning I chose this as the weeks poem.  It is a poem of love, of new love and of the kind of love that when you find it washes all other notions of love away . . . and although it is a memory of a specific event early in meeting my soul-mate, it is also about the kind of love that people mean when they say “When you know, you’ll know.”



we found the tree lying down in the leaves
by the starry-skied riverside at night

the length of its trunk was a deeply grooved & grey corduroy
thick contrasting lines of dark and light

branches once raised like arms in solar praise
now stretched out amongst its own lost leaves
as though in relaxed star-gazing repose

lying down next to it similarly, our hearts open to joy delicious,
drinking deeply the full cups of each other;
the wine of warm and welcomed companionship and kisses
always full and raised to the lips when we are together

the muse was singing “hidden place” somewhere inside
though all i heard were frogs croaking, a nearby cricket
and the small sounds of hips and lips pressed and plied
fingers smiling, finding leaves in your hair’s gathering thicket

giggling, we got up and noticed a curious skeletal shelter in the shadows,
built of curved logs and limbs, and took shelter within its hollow frame
slipping through the opening as quiet as possible;
two invisible birds in a cage without a door,

like being inside a wooden boat in the early stages of construction,
turned upside-down as though it were intended to sail the spaces
between the canopies of the trees

suddenly, with the spine-like line of the keel
set to the sea of the stars, the deep infinity sparkling above
how  “steer board” came to be “starboard” in the romance languages
becomes a part of this story, a part of what i know of love

the structure above a reflection of this disembodied ship we are creating,
this vessel being constructed by joining lips and limbs, hearts and
hands cradling spines and fingers wetting warm and secret rudders
the tongues unspoken language raising remembered sails

with no knowledge of which wind will fill these sails tonight
i keep my attention to the internal spirit level and the wheel
as the gentle swells we push through move our bubble close to center
shifting our positions by heart and head, guiding this dream by feel

and gratefully knowing that wind & rain are why the seasons fade and roses die
i am satiated to take refuge in the eternal moments of togetherness now,
yet, simultaneously, to this new rich ground i secretly wish to turn my plow
for in your weather I find an affinity, a tandem flow

and as sudden as a spring rain, the old superfluous armor dissolves
within me something older and deeper is speaking clearly,
without obstacle or veil of allowing this garden to grow,
and letting this sound ship sail

for there are no stars to be found when one’s eyes are fixed on the ground,
and putting our lips and hips level with that starry pool we both drink our fill

~David Anthony Martin


If you enjoyed this poems, you may wish to check out my book, Span, a collection of my poems. https://davidanthonymartin.wordpress.com/writings/books/span-a-collection-of-poetry/


2 responses to “Poem of the Week: “vessels”

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