Thoughts of True, Straight, Things at Key West

 She sang more than the best art of the sea.
 The wet then did not form to mind or voice,
 Like a real thing all a thing, it did shake
 Its stark sleeves; and yet its limned moves,
 Did for all time cry, caused for all time a cry
 That was not ours though we did know it,
 Not of man: of the true, real, sea.

 The sea was not a mask.  No more was she.
 The song and sea were not mixed up sound:
 Still not, if what she sang was what she heard,
 Since what she sang she said but word by word.
 It may be that in each phrase there stirred
 The waves at work, the wind in gasps,
 But it was she and not the sea we heard.

 For it was she who made the song she sang.
 The sea, all times cowled, full of sad airs,
 Was but a place by which she walked to sing.
 Whose heart is this? we said, for as we knew
 It was the heart that we sought, and knew
 That we should ask this oft times as she sang.

 If it was but the dark voice of the sea
 That rose, if too it 'twas tinged by wave and wave;
 If it was but the wide voice of sky
 And cloud, of the deep reef, wet walled,
 As clear as it may be, it would have been deep air,
 The speech (heave, heave) of air, of June a sound,
 Said more and more in a June time with no end
 And but sound.  But it was more than that,
 More yet than her voice, and ours, 'midst
 The null and void plunge of the wet and the wind,
 Far miles, as if not real, bronze shades heaped
 On high far scapes, Alps of air, Alps
 of sky and sea.
                 It was her voice that made
 The sky most sharp as it was set to go.
 She found out to the hour it's sad lone state.
 She was the one true smith of the world
 In which she sang.  And when she sang, the sea,
 Who cares which self was its own, then was the self
 That was her song, for she then made it so.  And we,
 As we then saw her stride with no one else,
 Knew that there could not be a world for her
 But the one she sang, and, with her song, made.

 R. F., my friend, tell me, if you know,
 Why, when her song was done and we did turn
 Back to the town, tell why the lights like glass,
 The lights in the moored boats out there,
 As the night came down, slopes and tilts in the air,
 Then ruled the night and mapped and lined the sea,
 To flame flushed zones and poles of fire,
 To now sort out, make strong, make a spell of night.

 Oh!  Blest rage for the true and straight, pale R. F.,
 The art smith's rage to range the words of the sea,
 Words of the scent filled, dim starred, doors,
 And words of us and of our sires and homes,
 Each edge thin, a ghost, more keen each sound.

                                -- Wall Steves
                                   (done by Rich Hort)