You come, bark between my heart, your bone.
you nod, distant in yourself, alone.
I murmur at the tales you tell,
and listen to your lonely laughter,
and tease you, touch you, call and swell–
yet all too soon you go;
I am too terrible,
too beautiful to know.
Oh, I too know the cradle,
the two legs and the three.
And you ply me like an urgent reminder
that passes on, but never is forgotten…
You stir me, name me, scrutinize,
perhaps plumb me, now and then;
still, all too soon you go;
I am to foreign,
too comprehensible to know.
I wait for you, I wave to you–
I kiss the shore and wait,
I feed you
and I sing.
But all you sense is surface-song
and shrink my tempest-beat, and tedium.
How could you know?
My symphony is far below,
and I am too dangerous,
too comforting to know.
I am the sea; I am alone.
I shall not hold you forcefully;
though tender, soft
I were to speak with you below,
in the unknown depths–
of fish that dart like doubts
in shadows even I don’t know,
of innocence, of laughter and complexities,
of a hundred sad perplexities,
and of an overwhelming question
that I dare not offer in any other place–
yet, if compelled, you’re sure to go;
I am the sea,
and I am too painful,
too humorous to know.
So if, demanded, you will go,
I choose to wait to know instead:
to sing you with the subtle swell,
to lift you, gently, when you come,
to cry and croon and smile you home,
and hope someday to fill your net
with treasure that I long to share,
but dare not show you yet, not quite.
For only when you truly come–
come to know, and then don’t shy,
in spite of my humanity–
then is when at last I’ll know:
I am not too alien to know.
And only then can I deliver
my overwhelming answer
to that lonely question:
I love you.