By Joe Guastella
Photography by Henry Hegeman

Listen to the living sea
Utter, in flailing tongues of
foam and froth,
The first syllable
From which springs all thought
all word.
her ceaseless chant
Rattles in my very bones.

The ever driving din
Of wind and surf
Rolls over the morning.
Within it discernible
A song most eloquent
In tones barely perceived.
Searching, with ear and eye
Legs working walking
Closer, louder the song-
Greetings from a grain
Of sanderlings!

They dance as well
In unison; front line facing
Tracing the edge of wave.
A blur of black spinning legs
Rolls along sloping damp sand.
Leaving nary a trace
They peck and probe
Playing surviving;
While up down back forth
Rocks the relentless tide.

Balls of brown balanced
On a single thin twig of leg
Head curled comfortably
into feathered back.

Silent alarm sounds — Wave!
Time to Beat Fast Feet!
No second leg drops down
From those same some?
They hop-a-long,
Trailing the mob’s rush
Chasing waves back into the sea.

Welcome is distraction from the grave
Winter scene; a reminder
That life flows ever on
Over the edge of the world…

Now in the gunpowder gray
Light of day
The flint has been struck!
A spark ignites.
Shards of shrapnel thought
Explode in the chamber
Of my muzzle loaded soul
Hurling waves of words
Into the vast barrel of sea and sky
Answering the Om.

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