Sunken Cathedrals

By Peter Halstead

On The Sea of Ice

What dank and ageless bell,
Hung from phantom rope
In the tide's cyclonic spell,
Drowns the wind beyond all hope;

What bay of hell at ocean's bend,
Its ghostly music turned to haze,
Ringing in the planet's end,
Haunts our flapping summer days;

What ancient worlds of flailing waves
Slide and improvise
With the tossing shipwrecks of our graves,
Whose vaguely human monsters rise

Like gargoyles on a roof,
Their cynic lips thrust out,
Mute, mistaken, and aloof,
Endlessly condemned to doubt

The dazzling phosphorescent shoal
Of the singing sea's black hole.

Red Lodge, Montana
July 29th and 30th and August 3th and 4th, 2012


What unconscious monsters spout from raging sleep, rattling the sheets on a sinking bunk, ringing the blood’s bell, lightning flashing on the bedposts?
What primal kraken erupt from dreams to whirl us to our raves?
How temptingly the flickers play around the windows, the static whispers on the wall, the roiled pillows turn translucent.
What canopies burst from sodden understories? What heavens breed beneath the leaves?
Water is a bursting scaffold, a skein of microscopic skeletons.
In simple tides lie the ebb and flow of galaxies.
Black holes are the drains of dimensions, lined with time.
Behind each wave lie the errors of orbits, the precession of nodes.
Novas are imploded stars; music is a collapsed prism.
Gargoyles, failed angels, sink into hell because they cannot believe in heaven.
Early film was a negative of the world, resurrected by light.
Around the edges of sinking ships floats treasure.
Wormholes are windows into calmer worlds.
Music is a sandbar waiting to surface.
Hidden under any shoal is an island.
Mathematicians find worlds in numbers; musicians build suns from notes.
We only find what we know is there.