I believe most forms are at their most successful when it’s not the first thing you notice about the poem. This is an acrostic. I think I did pretty well with not letting that be all the poem is, and I’m quite pleased with the result as a poem that stands on its own.
This poem represents another collision of influences: A prompt to write an acrostic that springs from another poem, and many years of recognizing the dichotomy between my favorite poem and my animist beliefs.
Oceans sing. Not in human music, not in etudes,
Fantasias, or arias. That would be lethal cliché, just as
Obvious words are death to a poem. But
Rising waves hum, tides pulse in counterpoint,
Deep-water trenches quake in undertones
Everyone feels in the tenderness of their bones,
Running like current, electrical or liquid; it’s
All one at that level. And it makes us sing, too.
The woman who haunted Stevens and pale Ramon
Knew the song that shocked her marrow, and sang it.
Excusable for the poet to think her the maker of the music,
Yet he was wrong. The sea has its own voice.
We walk by it and sing along as best we can,
Each of us sensing as we do that if we could understand the
Songs of whales, then we could be able to join in
The music of the water that is their gravity, but not their air.