These days especially, any number of distractions and worries too often conspire for our attention. But this week’s poem, Erin Covey-Smith’s “Ocean,” shares a moment of being brought back to senses and presence, and reminds us that, even now, that great body of water at our coast has the power to help us transcend what weighs on us.

Covey-Smith graduated with an MFA in printmaking from Concordia University in 2012 and found her way to the poetry world via her letterpress and book arts experience. She lives in Freeport, and her work can be found in the 2019 Littoral Books anthology “A Dangerous New World: Maine Voices on Climate Change.”

 

Ocean

By Erin Covey-Smith

 

Driving home, maybe-listening to the news,

thinking of the groceries I forgot to buy, and

something else that thought it was important.

And then—the ocean, where it always,

 

unexpectedly, is: stolidly gray, unassuming,

a subtle sigh into horizon. It demands nothing

and snaps me to attention more abruptly

than postcard days of glinting sun, flirting surf.

 

The ocean swallows words as I drive past,

then challenges me to name it anyway.

Because this, this is no list I forgot to write,

no background news. Some would call it God—

 

but I won’t. God is too heavy, and this,

this weighs nothing at all.

 

Megan Grumbling is a poet and writer who lives in Portland. DEEP WATER: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. “Ocean” copyright 2018 by Erin Covey-Smith, appears by permission of the author.

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