We’ve had a very briny week. Yesterday we went to the aquarium; today it was the beach. Naturally I had to reach for Whitman this afternoon; he understands so well the magic of the bluegreen underworld that so fascinates my children.
The World Below the Brine
by Walt Whitman
The world below the brine,
Forests at the bottom of the sea, the branches and leaves,
Sea-lettuce, vast lichens, strange flowers and seeds, the thick tangle openings,
and pink turf,
Different colors, pale gray and green, purple, white, and gold, the play of
light through the water,
Dumb swimmers there among the rocks, coral, gluten, grass, rushes, and the
aliment of the swimmers,
Sluggish existences grazing there suspended, or slowly crawling close to the
The sperm-whale at the surface blowing air and spray, or disporting with his
The leaden-eyed shark, the walrus, the turtle, the hairy sea-leopard, and the
Passions there, wars, pursuits, tribes, sight in those ocean-depths, breathing
that thick-breathing air, as so many do,
The change thence to the sight here, and to the subtle air breathed by beings
like us who walk this sphere,
The change onward from ours to that of beings who walk other spheres.
This week’s Poetry Friday roundup can be found at The Simple and the Ordinary.