George Moore

Woman Sitting at Shoreline

In an old rocker, in a window, in a small cottage
at the Hawk, her beach spills out into the other world.
But because she sits and rocks all day we pass
imperceptibly, as the hour hand on a clock,
like waves that slide by when you are looking inland,
suddenly speaking in frothy shouts and a clap of hands.
She nests there in her window, a rack of years
hung up like fish, and satisfied, we could not say.
We have only just arrived in this millennium
where shorelines never change, where repetitions smooth
to a single day. This is our sisterhood, or ancient witch,
the conjurer of our common dreams of drowning,
resting in a perfect state of ease
as she did the day before.

Little Rooms

By way of seeing things,
the shore folk, one day a week,
crowd into bent-raftered rooms,
belfries sharper than barn bats’ teeth
on the insects of the underworld,
the whitewash whiter than stones
bleached by the salt tongues of sea,
and for an hour they sing
as if to drown the surf.

The cemetery committees, close
to death, spritely but green, maintain
the seasonal raffle, curb a fisherman
fleeing into the good breeze,
and ask for his forgiveness
for their need. The ocean’s voice
like a clap of hands, warns him
of the vagaries of sleeping
at this helm.

Our pews are bolted to the floor
for sudden sea surges, testy tides,
errant hurricanes headed north
with their heathen tsunamis.
The ten cars tilted like a compass
on the sunken shoulder of the road
could never float, but form
a handy, off-hour flotilla
of faith and bait.

I squeeze between the single lane
and God, and hear the songs
of a different youth, as the village
celebrates its festival of sleep,
a short reprieve, with empty wharf
and little rooms that breathe
with a choir of survivors.

George Moore’s poetry appears in The Atlantic, Poetry (Chicago), Orion, North American Review, Colorado Review, Arc, Orbis, and the Dublin Review. His collections include Saint Agnes Outside the Walls (FutureCycle Press, 2016) and Children’s Drawings of the Universe (Salmon Poetry, 2015). Nominated for six Pushcart Prizes and a finalist for The National Poetry Series, he taught for thirty years at the University of Colorado, and presently lives on the south shore of Nova Scotia.



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