Pamlico Sound

Surely I am not the first to tell you
that the present is not unassailable.
The invasion of studied patterns is inevitable.

The cleansing breaths,
the guerilla meditation,
welcome sensory immediacy

but the vacuum
also greets the spectres of history.

And surely I am not the first
to suggest
that we meet the onslaught
with gratitude.

The past has hooks and muscle.
But without it, the unfolding present
would find it impossible
to walk,
to speak,
to paddle this vessel
into the west wind.

And we must, regardless,
call each creature on God's earth
by its name--

the exuberant herring
the plaintive blue heron
the patient, secretive oyster living
at the rising
water line.