by Sean O'Brien

Whether you stay or go, you hear
The water brushing at the threshold
And the long wave comes and carries you –
Home, home, as far as far,
The compass gathered like a rose
Into its bud, till you are neither
Here nor there, or so you almost know
At dusk and dawn, when time’s the only praise
That counts, outsailing its creator.
When the melancholy wave withdraws
Into a patience you can never share,
For half a day and half eternity you wish
To leave yourself marooned and calling
From the shore, until the long wave comes
Climbing past death’s stony door again
And spilling over till it seems
Like something you might know, but is a wave,
And not the first word or the last,
Home, home, as far as far,
The compass gathered like a rose.

The Beautiful Librarians

Reading this poem aloud is like holding a shell to your ear and hearing the echoes of the sea. It's published in Sean O'Brien's latest collection, The Beautiful Librarians, out now. 

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