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.