Above the Red Deep-Water Clays

Above the Red Deep-Water Clays

To hear the poet read “Above the Red Deep-Water Clays,” click here.

Capacity is both how
much of a thing there is and how
much it can do. From a solid
magnetized and very hot core, the earth

suffers itself to be turned outside.
Closest to its heart are the deepest submarine
trenches and sinks. Its lava finds

clefts there in the old uplifted crust,
the ocean floor a scramble. Wrapping at depth huge

shield volcanoes, the North Atlantic

down- and upwells, its denser layers making
room behind them through the blue-green shortest
wavelengths of light. Inside the cubic
yards it levies, league by league, respiring,
budgeting its heat, it hides

its samenesses of composition through and through.
For the normal water level, an ideal

solitary wave is surplus. Any wave’s
speed is what it is
only if reversing it would render it still.

Surfaces are almost without feature
at Sea Disturbance number one.
When the wind stretches them, their wrinkling gives it
more to hold onto. Three is

multiplying whitecaps.
Spray blows in well-marked streaks at six.
In the foam-spewed rolling swell that takes a
higher number, small and medium
ships may be lost to view for a long time.

Waves are additive. Doming

up on the tidal bulge into a storm’s
barometric low,

the distances between them widen
as from the Iceland-Faroes massif
leeward for another
three hundred miles southeast
they build unblocked. Little

enough for them the first outlying gabbro
islets and stacks. These are not yet The British
Countryside in Pictures
, not yet the shoals
off Arran in the Firth of Clyde.