Sprawled on a pew of sand, you meditate
on miracles of tide and time. Without
a prayer but apparently devout,
and humbled by the water’s shifting weight,
you watch with wonder, even venerate
this higher power rolling in and out:
omnipotence too obvious to doubt,
authority too awful to debate.
Like salty spray, some blue-green grace may cling
and seep unsanctified into your soul,
without a psalm or sermon—for the sea
makes its own joyful noise: the breakers ring
uncounted changes, and no church bells toll
more faithfully or irresistibly.
Previously published in 14 by 14.
Jean L. Kreiling writes: “Growing up on the beach, and living on another coast in adulthood, I have never lost the sense of awe and humility that the sea inspires. And of course I have never succeeded in capturing its magic in words, but I hope I’ve made a start in this poem. Its form, my favorite, imposes the sonnet’s graceful structure onto what might otherwise have been an amorphous rhapsody; in addition, its meter and rhyme might suggest a bit of the ocean’s own rhythms and harmonies.”
Jean L. Kreiling is the author of two collections of poetry: Arts & Letters & Love (2018) and The Truth in Dissonance (2014). Her work appears widely in print and online journals, and has been awarded the Able Muse Write Prize, three New England Poetry Club prizes, the Plymouth Poetry Contest prize, and several other honors. She is Professor Emeritus of Music at Bridgewater State University, and an Associate Poetry Editor for Able Muse: A Review of Poetry, Prose & Art.