It is my fervent wish that any two people in a romantic relationship have found what Maureen and i have found, and as i believe, my parents had it all along. All else is secondary.
i wrote the first part of this “epic poem” while at sea (obviously) two months after we had married and one month after she spent the Labor Day weekend with me in Jacksonville, Florida before my last ship, the USS Yosemite (AD-19) deployed. i wrote the second one two days ago, thinking of it when i woke up and putting the first draft down before i went off for golf. i suspect there will be a third part of this later.
To Maureen: The Beginning of an Epic Poem
Indian Ocean phosphorescence;
glowing waves in the night awe me no longer
(younger sailors almost shout in delight
at the discovery of sparkling waves),
i walk back to my stateroom with better things to do:
to dream true visions:
There should have been a diaphanous mist,
flowing about her
when she walked toward me the first time
Mind, do not play tricks on me.
i desire to remember the moment exactly as it was:
Her dress seemed to be a gossamer gown
softly caressing the elegance of her body;
her hair curled softly,
falling gracefully to her shoulders,
framing the delicate, fine features.
Eyes, oh eyes, drawing me in, taking my breath,
suggested more than my mind could comprehend,
grasped my soul and told me
Scherazade’s thousand tales,
drew me into the bottomless pit of emotion
before i knew emotion had no end;
allowed me to float suspended in her beauty.
i was afraid to speak,
afraid i might fall from suspension,
break the image before me.
then we got down to business.
What in god’s name did i think, i think.
perhaps suspicions of such beauty, certainly awed.
i made a joke.
Did she notice i was nervous?
Oh little boy, walk away as if
you were merely happy with the thought
you will see her at least one more time.
i am deep into the Indian Ocean night.
i have learned to gauge the depth of the night
by the strength of the coffee.
now the coffee is very strong, very black.
the work seems endless.
the sea infinite.
Yet i smile
when i dream of her.
over the hill: the continuation of an epic poem that began in my head, 1982
the wind blows gently over the hill
from the sea to the west
to the home
where we have lived
some thirty-plus years;
she sits across from me at breakfast,
by my side at the kitchen counter for lunch,
on her love seat, me in the lounge chair
with dinner trays for supper;
she usually goes to bed early;
later, i slip i beside her,
touch her hand,
no more than that:
quite different from years past,
i wish her to sleep, not wake her,
(rituals of the marriage dance, you see)
she does not completely understand me,
probably more than i understand her;
we agree on most things;
we are different,
far different than either of us
ever imagined when it all began
in an Rx7, dinners, sailing,
John Lee Hooker, Doc Watson,
Sarah Vaughn, MJQ,
Tommy Dorsey’s orchestra,
not the stuff of today,
before i went back to sea for a while;
we either laugh at our differences
or understand and abide;
she is as beautiful as when i met her
just a little bit different from younger years;
she remains so beautiful inside
it makes my heart ache to be without her
for more than half a day.
you see, we have learned to love
through all sorts of stuff
this makes our world calmer,
which is what love is supposed to be.