Archibald MacLeish

(7 May 1892 – 20 April 1982 / Glencoe, Illinois)

The Rock In The Sea - Poem by Archibald MacLeish

Think of our blindness where the water burned!
Are we so certain that those wings, returned
And turning, we had half discerned
Before our dazzled eyes had surely seen
The bird aloft there, did not mean?—
Our hearts so seized upon the sign!


Think how we sailed up-wind, the brine
Tasting of daphne, the enormous wave
Thundering in the water cave—
Thunder in stone. And how we beached the skiff
And climbed the coral of that iron cliff
And found what only in our hearts we’d heard—
The silver screaming of that one, white bird:
The fabulous wings, the crimson beak
That opened, red as blood, to shriek
And clamor in that world of stone,
No voice to answer but its own.


What certainty, hidden in our hearts before,
Found in the bird its metaphor?


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010



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