In the low blue lustre

Carl SandburgI have become obsessed recently with the Carl Sandburg poem “Sketch.” I have a brittle, well read edition of Chicago Poems. Besides the brutally insightful poems of Sandburg, the inside cover has a note from my dad, who bought the slim volume for me while stuck in the Chicago airport seven years ago. It is one of my favorite books of poetry, but for some reason, “Sketch” never struck me the way it has in the last few weeks. Perhaps the difference is that now I live only two blocks from a harbor (the one in the photo), and the ocean is omnipresent in this city.

“The shadows of the ships
Rock on the crest
In the low blue lustre
Of the tardy and the soft inrolling tide.

A long brown bar at the dip of the sky
Puts an arm of sand in the span of salt.

The lucid and endless wrinkles
Draw in, lapse and withdraw.
Wavelets crumble and white spent bubbles
Wash on the floor of the beach.

Rocking on the crest
In the low blue lustre
Are the shadows of the ships.”

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