This week’s poem captures a moment when the watcher and the watched—the person and the sea—become one. And the poem speaks to us in a rollicking, sculpted, rhyming voice that we might imagine the sea speaking with, if it used words.

Annie Finch’s most recent book of poetry is Spells: New and Selected Poems (Wesleyan University Press, 2012), and her poetry has appeared in many magazines and The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry.

And The Voice Was The Sea

By Annie Finch

As I picked my way nearer along that red shocking rock Shelf,

I was hoping the spray would rise up and deliver myself.


Seagulls reared loud and close, more than anything I could have planned.

I looked out at the sea and forgot I could still see the land.

I was lost, in a foaming green crawl. I grew smaller than me;

I was shrunk in a tidepool. I pulsed. And I wondered. The sea

Grew its monuments for me; each wave, every coloring shadow,

So bereft and so laden with wrack, spoke for me till it had no


Need of my words any more. I was open and glad

At last, grateful like seaweed at last, and as glad, since I had

No more place on the rocks but a voice—and the voice was the sea.

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc is Portland’s poet laureate. DEEP WATER: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2012 Annie Finch. It appeared in The Voice Was the Sea: Poems from Coastal Maine (Voices From the American Land Poetry Series, 2012) and appears here by permission of the author.

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