Tuesday, April 24, 2012

On the Waters

by Steve King
©  2012 
All rights reserved

The surface had been broken sudden,
ripples shake the sky to muddled gray,
mixing clouds with infinite azure—
clouds that seemed so bright before,
floating high upon a sea of light—
but not now in reflection,
not now, writhing on the fractured sheen;
The sun, bent to funhouse shapes,
a wandering balloon
set loose upon the world,
unencumbered child’s play
making light of all the day.

The certain picture gone,
hostage to the least of winds
that touch and go and leave no trace
or any true pathway.
The face upon the waters
puzzles now a dawning mystery:
eyes flash across each gathered wave,
changing with new currents,
now hiding in roiled shadow,
then glinting in that funhouse glare;
lips, fickling with each rise and fall,
first smile, then frown to bottom out the depths;
no Narcissus charm to beckon
from the spirit floating there,
countenance remote, delicate,
hanging just beyond an easy reach,
trapped within an ever-changing tide.

Watching for a certainty to settle of its own,
to hold a master vision once again,
an image, an idea that might stay,
knowing sure that all things seen
linger on their own thin edge,
ceding fragile form and gravity
to random ripples of unthought design
that shatter calm reflection,
spin still contemplation and regard
out of their sometime world.

These beauties that the image now betrays
are drifting peaceful on the deeper reservoir,
reflecting for an instant only on the broken shoal.
Such shadows may not be embraced,
nor should they even slip to light so much,
for all that gathers on the edge
is scattered as I stoop to see,
ruined on the muddled shore
as I do reach to lay a heavy touch.


  1. Such sights are great to behold
    But not as shiny as gold
    For they will always rearrange
    Not so nicely either but then I like strange

  2. Steve...seems everyone is lacing a little bit of smokey mystery into their work this evening. Love the haunting quality of the read, the seashore at moonlight when ghosts are free to've set a most poetic tone!

  3. you paint some great imagery with your words steve...and in this one each word seems measured and serves a purpose...i catch that bit of magical mystery as well in this...touches of another world...

  4. very cool images you paint here...feels a bit mysterious, a bit twilight, bit magical.. just as the water or life can be...nice work steve

  5. Wonderful imagery in this with a bit of mystery, great write Steve.

  6. This poem mesmerizes does the stoop to see and things does the sea and tides...all things linger on their own thin our dreams, hopes, visions, the sea here mirrors that...this is a beautiful work...and to me one of your best.x

  7. The pace here is hypnotic as light reflected off water, the reader doesn't dive, but wades a step at a time, deeper and deeper to where nothing is sure, to where everything is a rippled refraction of's hard to capture the sensation of water in words(I've tried and failed many times) but here it is a living element, as it should be, both historically and poetically. My favorite lines are those that begin at "...The face upon the waters/puzzles now a dawning mystery:
    eyes flash across each gathered wave..." and end ,
    "...fickling with each rise and fall,/first smile, then frown to bottom out the depths;/no Narcissus charm to beckon/from the spirit floating there..." You've written a lovely piece here, Steve, and one I'll remember.

  8. Very nice introspection..I like how you capture that moment of stillness and seeing the play of shadow and light ~

    A pleasure to read your work ~

  9. 'fickling with each rise and fall'.. that's it exactly

    Much to enjoy here.. reflections, refractions .. I'm writing one about an early morning paddle.. many shared ripples I think.

  10. Such lovely imagery and reflection, it so reminds me of the reservoir where I love to go walking. A peaceful kind of solitude, of feeling one with nature. A beautiful poem, Steve. I love your words!