The Corner

Culture

Poetry

LOOKING EAST

A Yes or No answer, black or white, is

Not found staring at the ocean, much as

The sea magnetizes our attention.

It holds us more completely than we feel

It does, the eternal shift that catches us

Again, repeatedly; of all places

Looking out of a hotel window, where

An oblique procession of white waves comes

In from the northeast on a windy day

At a slant, a bright crest two hundred feet

From the shore, a formality that seems

Beyond the capacity of the force

Driving the waters of the world to this place,

Where they stop for a moment, desist somehow,

Then draw away from the land in massive

Undertows dragging them back to their course,

Away from the shore, from the fifth-floor hotel

Window, as the gray immensity moves,

Neither canyon nor mountain, but covering

The world to the horizon where future

And past seem to meet, if they do anywhere.

— Lawrence Dugan

This poem appears in the October 2 print issue of NR.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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