Underwater Living


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Cold light, waters of the anonymous . . .
How do you tell a stranger you are drowning?
It’s a rare fish not fascinated by the silvery lure that’s
glinting like a passing conversation or abandoned aqualung,
a semaphore of air bubbles, voices popping to the surface,
agreed upon hand signals at these temperatures and pressure.
Underwater is a bad place for cross purposes —
bodies drift or sink, flounder, know cod philosophies,
wave frantically through the porthole of a sunken trawler,
their spectacles and porcelain perfectly preserved:
but the bones, all that’s organic, fed to the fishes.
“In school today we read of pirate treasure,
drunken sailors on the rocks, hopes dashed like ships to kindling.”
No one mentioned private wrecks, the awful wrench known as the bends.

Bruce McRae, a Canadian musician, came to poetry late but has enjoyed a large number of publications in the past 10 years, recently gaining airplay for his poems and songs in the U.K., Australia and the U.S.A. The So-Called Sonnets, is his first book, which this audio poem is an excerpt from. More information can be found on his website: bpmcrae.com.