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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Ryan
Michael Ryan
Born in 1946, the poet Michael Ryan's works have been selected for the Yale Series of Younger Poets, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award...
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FURTHER READING
Poems about Oceans
A Book Of Music
by Jack Spicer
By the Waters of Babylon [V. Currents]
by Emma Lazarus
harbor (the conversion)
by Nick Flynn
If the ocean had a mouth
by Marie-Elizabeth Mali
Inland
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Our Valley
by Philip Levine
Out of the Rolling Ocean, the Crowd
by Walt Whitman
Sea Fever
by John Masefield
The Ocean
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Paltry Nude Starts on a Spring Voyage
by Wallace Stevens
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Half Mile Down

 
by Michael Ryan

My sick heart and my sick soul
I'd gladly fasten in a bag
and drop into an ocean-hole
to float in darkness as a rag.

Would it learn to make its light?
Maybe in a million years.
A million years of constant night
in which it can't stop its fears

flaring their nightmare tentacles
and bioluminescent eyes
as cold and sharp as icicles
under moonless, starless skies:

medusae, spookfish, cephalopods,
jellies with no eyes or brains,
lethal and beautiful as gods,
locked in endless predation chains.

How seamless then the world would seem,
which life on earth never did,
the living water like a dream
crowded with prowling vampire squid

that want only to stay alive
among other monsters innocent
of all but the pure drive to survive
without self-judgment.









From This Morning by Michael Ryan. Copyright 2012 by Michael Ryan. Reprinted with permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
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