21 February 2013

Through the Crisp Telescope

Eight Bells Folly: Memorial to Hart Crane (1933)
Marsden Hartley


"Indian Point"
Marsden Hartley

When the surf licks with its tongues
these volcanic personal shapes, which we,
defining for ourselves as rocks, accept
them as such, at its feverish incoming
isn't it too, in its way, something like
the plain image of life?
Those restless entities disturbing solid
substances with a curious, irrelevant,
common fret –
and, like so many simple looking elements, when
they seem the most playful, it is then that
they are most dangerous.
The bright woman looking out to sea
through the crisp telescope of her advancing
there is no doubt but that she discovers the
same image as the child, who remarks the
radiant glint of his marbles on the top spray
of the wave he once played with,
or as the fringed lace on the dress of a
Titan's wife –
the inwash cooling at least the eye with
a something exceptional white or green or
blue, too pale almost to mention, if
frightening to the marrow,
for many have been sent to their death trusting
too much while regarding it affectionately,
the sea.

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