ABOVE AND BELOW THE SURFACE
Our life unfolds in the sunfilled air where we are kings
But leave this kingdom at your peril,
For below the surface are watery things.
In our royal air, raindrops fall down. In the upside-down liquid world - confusion:
Air bubbles in water fall up - the ocean’s own airdrops.
Two visitor spheres, each hurrying home, for life through the surface is an illusion.
A distorted image of illusory shimmering through eyes with lenses blurred,
The Pearl of the World is a cauterized oyster-infection.
Divers plunge below, uncertain of reality: no sound senses - no word is heard.
Above, our mastery of life in royal air is an illusion - of power.
Below we must move from a king’s realm to a serf’s realm.
We must move down the scale from predator to prey - and cower.
Once below, we must mark the ways of beings which outwit our checks.
Turtles and whales talk easily over our mute submarine tele-cables
Sprawled snake-like among the dark silent hulls, useless wrecks -
Those temporary temples to the royal air-gods of technologism,
In an unforgiving world where water-power demands fealty:
Flotability is a permanent state of hydro-atheism.
Airless sunless life, groping gradually to the glassy surface, shaken
Or even known, only by instinct, but never breached:
‘Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.’ *
*From Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116