Sunday, May 09, 2010

Islands and Mainland

no man is an island
yet islands lay themselves ashore
as mini-continents elide and swarm
assembling California

entire of itself

each island still mainland
a promontory spike rising above the waves
a spike of land poking above the abyssal plains
a peninsula of eroded time
extruded from mainland colliding
all connected beneath waters

of all things most yielding
the Tao says water seeks the lowest level
filling in crevass, gorge, canyon, river, stream
seeking finally a sea, an ocean, the lowest ground
flooding the drowned lands
the rivers of eden

but the lands of the dead
are the dry lands
where there is no water and no thirst
and the stars never move or brighten

[Quotes in italics from John Donne's Sermons, John McPhee's geology books Annals of the Former World, and the Tao Te Ching]

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