Sonnet to J.L. #1
I wonder why your ships are painted green
While ours are gray? I’ve heard some sailors say
That swift ships, camouflaged, can move unseen
Against the sea. Strange, though, it’s always cold gray
Winter’s sea that we anticipate.
I think perhaps you’re wiser with your green.
It is as though you mean to imitate
The warmer, friendlier seas that lie between
The tropics. I wonder, could it be
Your ships are prayers, . their paint a subtle way
To challenge God to grant a happier sea
Than we’d expect in our dour ships of gray?
If so, I pray that God hears your green prayer
And sends you always green seas, calm and fair.
Here on this island, summer never sleeps.
In the green valleys, smoke in cane-time drifts
With mist—frail tide that laps the chasmed deeps
Between the steep clean hills as the sea-tide
Once washed the silent hidden hollow rifts
And unseen valleys of its unborn bride.
Sea-bride, child of earth’s red molten womb,
Daughter of fire and chaos long since sleeping,
Who were the people that made your green hills bloom?
Wedded to the seas they were, like you;
From the dark sea, while you your watch were keeping,
They came to make their destined rendezvous.
The broad bare feet step forth on virgin sand,
And eyes raise to the green eternal hills:
Gray mist, green hills and fertile red-clay land,
Alone no more. The carefree caroling laughter
Drifts inland, where valley mist distills
The songs that shall be sung forever after.