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This poem is taken from PN Review 34, Volume 10 Number 2, November - December 1983.

Poems Robert Pinsky

Or a crippled sloop falters, about to go under
In sight of huge ritual fires along the beach
With people eating and dancing, the older children

Cantering horses parallel to the ghostlike surf.
But instead the crew nurse her home somehow,
And they make her fast and stand still shivering

In the warm circle, preserved, and they may think
Or else I have drowned, and this is the last dream.
They try never to think about the whole range and weight

Of ocean. To try to picture it is like looking down
From an immense height, the oblivious black volume.
To drown in that calamitous belly would be dying twice.

When I was small, someone might say about a delicate
Uncorroded piece of equipment, that's a sweetwater reel -
And from the sound sweetwater, a sense of the coarse,

Kelp-colored, chill sucking of the other,
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