The North Pacific Gyre

Bruce McIntyre

For Pussy’s pooh and pee box it began
As if it were the end, borne on the flooding
Of the caramel deluge flushing out
Pee-stained gravel, delicate fecal lumps
And newspaper and the plastic hutch
Mottled white above and black below
Riding the water with a lift, almost
An eager jump, empty now and cleaner
Than it had ever been and bobbing
Down the moiling estuary,
Hitching at one point a ride upon
The matted black and bloody fur of a horse
Feebly hoofing the waves till giving in
And turning muzzle to the filthy foam.
The hutch tips sideways, breaks apart -
We’re with the bottom now -
It’s full, alone and all but sunk, a tub, a puddle
Pulled by the flood, the brown morass
Fans the inner ocean with a tangle
Of tropical detritus, palm fronds, hairy coconuts,
But we cannot sink, not yet, not for many years,
For many years will pass wherein we hang.
From high on the third floor of the Pharos
Ancient eyes could observe the curve of the earth
And the wrinkled horizon overlaying it
Where the first thing to appear was a mast.
Now from high on the gaze’s plane
Appears this place in vastness, the widest, deepest
Ocean of oceans glowering the size
Of continents, burying the pimpled, vented
Fissured, trench-scarred floor,
The several atmospheres, the several worlds.
The substance moves in shafts of diminishing light
Whose height is only with difficulty encompassed
And to the mammalian soul the ocean lies
Buried in our widest, deepest memory
So that as we gaze into what we cannot see
Fear prickles, oozes heat into our blood-pulsing warmth.
But sea-soaked flesh is largely gritty and soft,
Flushed with small bones, pickled slimy in salt
While up there on the merging atmospheres
Where the watery blocks encircle each other,
Moves a dusting like a gathering of ash or snow
Of synthetic excreta still strange, still new.
The putrid fan bows its broad head to the dark blue gloom
And gloriously afloat we slow and revolve ourselves
Within the great turning. For us this means
Alternately full and suspended at an angle
An arm’s length below the surface, submersion,
Or airborne in the storm driven
To catch a breath of air and twist, yes, dance
Insensible to the astringent rain amidst the high piled waves
Obeying only the wind, flowing round and round
Finally to enter the central calm.
How many others of my species are suspended here
Insensible to the elements but sensible to time
That twines the restless ocean?
Here the flakes of ash converge now raining
Nurdles downwards to the floor through six or seven miles,
Which let me say is not so far in astronomical terms,
And as we swarm in mud as well as in the guts
And poisoned vitals of the local inhabitants,
It will be a long long time before we are forgotten.
Long ago the cruel flood swept us away
To travel in those brief ecstatic days of adventure
And drift in here together, brine-bound, dead.

Poetry Atlas has some more poems about The Pacific Ocean.

Main Location:

North Pacific Ocean

The northern Pacific Ocean