by Joseph McLaughlin

Published in Issue No. 46 ~ March, 2001

for Hart Crane

Language isn’t everything, you know.
Our words lie on the surface
of our consciousness,
prattling in the sun,
unaware of the deep beneath us,
the unseen currents patiently waiting.

You know, you know.
One day you slipped unnoticed
out of your singsong self
and into the azure pool,
felt the waters close
around your chest,
sensed the light dimming
above, behind,
as you drowned away
from the surface of words,
down to where there is nothing to explain,
where no tongue moves.

There, in the deep, liquid darkness,
you felt the tug of the great horse,
the underground stream of eternity,
which collects us all in the end.

O, you surrendered the idea
of your mind,
were carried slowly, inexorably
to the source
where all is silent,
and without identity.

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Joseph McLaughlin recently retired as an associate professor of English at Stark State College of Technology in Canton, Ohio. His most recent book of poems is Memory, In Your Country (Pale Horse Press, 1995). "The Deep" commemorates the 1932 drowning death of American poet Hart Crane who, as a youth, lived in nearby Garrettsville, Ohio. Crane's drowning — at the ominous and dangerous age of 33 — in the Caribbean was thought to be a suicide.