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Tethers

I dreamed last night and, in my dreaming,
I was diving deeply in a warm weltering sea,
Exulting in strong lungs and slender-lithe body
That gave me this life of slow motion.
Swimming among fishes. Looking for the oyster.
Looking for the oyster, where the single grain of sand:
Metamorphosed to a soft white, near-glowing pearl;
Metamorphosed from a thing of simplicity,
To an object of avarice that captures man's greed.
               Then I felt it!
The sharp tug of the tether at my ankle
Reminding me, even deep in the sea,
I was just a tool of the avarice and greed,
That would drown me thoughtlessly were I slow,
That would subject my body to rude intrusion
To be sure that I hid no creamy white gem.
               Then I awoke.
And mused my sea-freedom was illusory
But now, awake, I knew liberty.
               Then I remembered.
Remembered the tethers of modern life:
Elastic tethers that snap me back if I stray,
Tethers of obligation and contribution.
               Then I knew
Life is like the grain of sand and has
               Metamorphosed too.




The Clown

I remember you in a ballgown,
I thought you strangely exotic
With your brightly red lips,
Mascara'd eyes and rouged cheeks.
I thought of clowns;
My mother, the clown.


(c) 2001 Paul Greenhow

Paul Greenhow

An Ohio-based Englishman, and editor of the excellent PW Review. Paul has a new hobby: whale watching.