Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Jeffrey Harrison: The Light in the Marsh Grass

was alive: small creatures aglow and crawling
one after the other down each tall green blade—
thousands of them bending at all angles—
along the quaggy edge of the salt marsh cove
the three of us had paddled our kayaks into…
 
luminous bits of green-gold sliding down
the myriad stalks, but inside them, as if the marsh
were sucking down the warm light through
innumerable living straws, drop after drop
in a wavering, steady, mesmerizing rhythm,
 
and for once no explanation we could think of 
(that unseen ripples on the cove’s mirrory stillness
focused the late sunlight in eely ribbons
that scrolled down the blades of spartina)
could diminish the marvel we had chanced upon,
 
and we gave up trying to explain it, gave ourselves
to it—as if we had ingested some hallucinogen 
that opened our eyes to what was there all along 
but had gone unnoticed, each of us in our own pod
of selfhood floating on the fetid, primordial cove
 
now held together in awed suspension by these grasses
aswarm with lights that also flowed in waves through us,
wanting it not to stop, asking ourselves why
we’d never seen what had been going on for eons,
asking how we could keep it, knowing we could not. 
 

Jeffrey Harrison’s latest collection is Between Lakes (Four Way Books, 2020).

The Light in the Marsh Grass from Between Lakes copyright 2020 by Jeffrey Harrison.  Appears with permission of Four Way Books. All rights reserved.

Salt marshes and Spartina alterniflora can form meadows in the wetlands, as here on the Massachusetts coast. (Source: Seashore to Forest Floor)

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This entry was posted on November 10, 2020 by in Environmentalism, Health and Nutrition, Poetry, spirituality and tagged , , .

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