Treasure Island

Philip Levine

(January 10, 1928 / Detroit, Michigan)

Berenda Slough


Earth and water without form,
change, or pause: as if the third
day had not come, this calm norm
of chaos denies the Word.

One sees only a surface
pocked with rushes, the starved clumps
pressed between water and space --
rootless, perennial stumps

fixed in position, entombed
in nothing; it is too late
to bring forth branches, to bloom
or die, only the long wait

lies ahead, a parody
of perfection. Who denies
this is creation, this sea
constant before the stunned eye's

insatiable gaze, shall find
nothing he can comprehend.
Here the mind beholds the mind
as it shall be in the end.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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