Vietnam V poem by John Barr

Vietnam V

I stare down into waterburn.
This urge to enter what we see.
Unrefracted tropical sun
with its whole arm
works deeply the ocean interior.

Water and light in union
make a third thing—color as fluid
deepened endlessly.
Into the quarry of aquamarine,
high-walled with light, the mind high dives.

My fingers cleave watersilk.
I breathe heavy light.
The big cavitation of the props
gone by, my struggling stops, my slowed

descent, in diminishing light,
gains the country where the shark
is eagle, fish the fishermen, and men
no more than stones along the road.

John Barr / from The Hundred Fathom Curve

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