"The Roar of the Sea and the Plangent Cries of Whimbrels"
-- Gudrid the Far Traveler
Kathryn Rantala


on crumbled earth edge
the urge to curl
from inside bending

impulse all shell advancing

as cones drag water
and down into

the roar behind the ammonites

looked at
from another long time
only farther
and straightened out


It was a windy wide open place
a curlew missing everything
in brown chevrons

the drawn out breath emptied too big
to wrap the arms around

the weighed down pines
of everything
back where ground stands up
to take or give way

the heading unclear
from here
and hard

and maybe anyway
blown back


From here a froth runs out to rocks
as if wanting to

an eye from shore
a bird

all beach pieces in a place
as active
or as still
or in the heart limping

right as sink
in muck

the water up in shapes
from stepping down


Difficult in slight light
the way to face

to living
or to living stone

logs tossed up

the distances from points
(in them)

whatever it is with us

difficult to separate
the drowned

or to recall specific loss

difficult difficult
volume piling in and out

the less of light


the least


We didn't say when he was dying
we almost kept

rimmed green algae
the things
things live in awhile

arch overhang
the turf roots

artifacts of shade

the sharp smelling surf

a day too wet to find in a week of wet

the volcanic weep
hot then cold
on terraces wave-cut

instead of lying down
running from the shore

as far as possible


One day at the end of the world
a raven went about

a tide wandered

or was it dull

and further and further south
fall sun invented
the sides of leaves

I think I dropped straight down

then tide hit

cold curled over and
rocks bumped up then up
against each other

and after

little beyond a totem
a stack of rocks
a flat fish

to promise anyone

[Note: According to Medieval Icelandic sagas, Gudrid the Far
Traveler, a Viking (985-1050) and widow of Leif Erikkson’s brother,
traveled to North America from Greenland in the early 11th Century.]