Poets | Bookstore | Poem of the Day | Top 40 | Search | Comments | Privacy
September 23rd, 2014 - we have 234 poets, 8,025 poems and 278,943 comments.
Weldon Kees - A Distance From The Sea

To Ernest Brace

"And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was
about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto
me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and
write them not."                           --REVELATIONS, x, 4.

That raft we rigged up, under the water,
Was just the item: when he walked,
With his robes blowing, dark against the sky,
It was as though the unsubstantial waves held up
His slender and inviolate feet. The gulls flew over,
Dropping, crying alone; thin ragged lengths of cloud
Drifted in bars across the sun. There on the shore
The crowd's response was instantaneous. He
Handled it well, I thought--the gait, the tilt of the head, just right.
Long streaks of light were blinding on the waves.
And then we knew our work well worth the time:
The days of sawing, fitting, all those nails,
The tiresome rehearsals, considerations of execution.
But if you want a miracle, you have to work for it,
Lay your plans carefully and keep one jump
Ahead of the crowd. To report a miracle
Is a pleasure unalloyed; but staging one requires
Tact, imagination, a special knack for the job
Not everyone possesses. A miracle, in fact, means work.
--And now there are those who have come saying
That miracles were not what we were after. But what else
Is there? What other hope does life hold out
But the miraculous, the skilled and patient
Execution, the teamwork, all the pain and worry every miracle involves?

Visionaries tossing in their beds, haunted and racked
By questions of Messiahship and eschatology,
Are like the mist rising at nightfall, and come,
Perhaps to even less. Grave supernaturalists, devoted worshippers
Experience the ecstasy (such as it is), but not
Our ecstasy. It was our making. Yet sometimes
When the torrent of that time
Comes pouring back, I wonder at our courage
And our enterprise. It was as though the world
Had been one darkening, abandoned hall
Where rows of unlit candles stood; and we
Not out of love, so much, or hope, or even worship, but
Out of the fear of death, came with our lights
And watched the candles, one by one, take fire, flames
Against the long night of our fear. We thought
That we could never die. Now I am less convinced.
--The traveller on the plain makes out the mountains
At a distance; then he loses sight. His way
Winds through the valleys; then, at a sudden turning of a path,
The peaks stand nakedly before him: they are something else
Than what he saw below. I think now of the raft
(For me, somehow, the summit of the whole experience)
And all the expectations of that day, but also of the cave
We stocked with bread, the secret meetings
In the hills, the fake assassins hired for the last pursuit,
The careful staging of the cures, the bribed officials,
The angels' garments, tailored faultlessly,
The medicines administered behind the stone,
That ultimate cloud, so perfect, and so opportune.
Who managed all that blood I never knew.

The days get longer. It was a long time ago.
And I have come to that point in the turning of the path
Where peaks are infinite--horn-shaped and scaly, choked with 

thorns.
But even here, I know our work was worth the cost.
What we have brought to pass, no one can take away.
Life offers up no miracles, unfortunately, and needs assistance.
Nothing will be the same as once it was,
I tell myself.--It's dark here on the peak, and keeps on getting 
darker.
It seems I am experiencing a kind of ecstasy.
Was it sunlight on the waves that day? The night comes down.
And now the water seems remote, unreal, and perhaps it is.

Share |

Added: Feb 20 2003 | Viewed: 3033 times | Comments and analysis of A Distance From The Sea by Weldon Kees Comments (9)

A Distance From The Sea - Comments and Information

Poet: Weldon Kees
Poem: A Distance From The Sea
Poem of the Day: Jan 14 2012

Comment 9 of 9, added on May 27th, 2013 at 5:37 PM.
fWXfDplnAfetZz

BFYOYf A big thank you for your blog post.Really thank you! Keep writing.

seo service from Australia
Comment 8 of 9, added on May 27th, 2013 at 2:34 PM.
fyTjYhlBroMOr

3ehBvF Enjoyed every bit of your blog post. Keep writing.

seo service from Slovakia Republic
Comment 7 of 9, added on May 25th, 2013 at 8:12 PM.
hElFdXeKooYwrWqjhc

lt2hCx Im thankful for the article.Thanks Again. Really Great.

good seo from Latvia

Are you looking for more information on this poem? Perhaps you are trying to analyze it? The poem, A Distance From The Sea, has received 9 comments. Click here to read them, and perhaps post a comment of your own.

Poem Info

Kees Info
Copyright © 2000-2012 Gunnar Bengtsson. All Rights Reserved. Links | Bookstore