These instructions are for viewing the poem "Sea Whispers" without frames

The image shows a kanji (japanese ideogram) of the sea. The ideogram is a complex character, made up of elements for water, farm, and sky. The poem is arranged in the default order of writing the kanji, although links encourage and demand other readings. On each of the strokes for the ideogram, there is an English word which links to a stanza. This English word is the title for each of the corresponding stanzas.

On the frames version, mousing over the word in one frame provides the words in the second frame. This seamless transition is only possible on the frames version. In this version, I have substituted a *position* note on each stanza. Please listen to the * as a different voice, a countermeasure providing a sense of navigation.

You can follow these links: spray / crests / waves / break on the shore / we see forever / on the horizon / sky / how many times / have we stood on the deck / sailing the seven seas / in our / dreams / longing / without / knowing /reasons / why


kanji for sea.


We dream of the salt spray of adventure
A tall ship, a creaking mast, a world
we can hold like the flying drops of mist
capturing all the colors of light forever

*spray drops in from the top of the word, balancing the shore and forever.*


The ten thousand sailors who went rumly off
to the Edge of the World plucked the crests
from every royal. Captured every princess.
Plundered the pinnacles on every mountain.

*crests form another careful drop, building before breaking on the shore*


Jade grey waves churn their froth edges
upon the broken rocks, breathing in time
with a rhythym more ancient than thought
more consuming than the moon that binds them

*waves form from the deep, dark rythyms that turn up to break on the shore*

break on the shore

The small, quick-legged sandpipers rush in
to follow the delicate foam edge
of the waves as they retreat into themselves
building the strength to break once more.

*the shore is only a thin line, holding the spray and crests of the unknown from the deck where we know our dreams and reasons*

we see forever

We know what is out there.
These days, nothing is left but tales
of daring deeds already done, of dragons
long dead and quests long fulfilled.

*we see forever lifts from the shore into the sky, pointing to our destinations and our desires.*

on the horizon

Strain your eyes towards the blurred line
between sky and sea, between real and unreal
Watch as the sun slips between the cracks,
and carefully bursts into emerald oblivion.

*on the horizon flatly joins see forever and the sky , keeping us as level as we can be on the sea.*


The stars they steered by are the stars
we plan to steer toward. But the distances
between the past and future are wider than the
unconceivably empty spaces between those stars.

*The sky is a tiny point tied to the horizon, almost but not quite breaking free*

how many times

Have we promised ourselves
we will slay an unknown dragon,
will venture forth without trembling
will find some way to breathe--free--again

*How many times lies under the horizon, safely beyond the shore, and starts us wondering over the land.*

have we stood on the deck

Pacing our footsteps in the darkened wood
finding comfort in an adventure we know too well,
denying we long for something else,
for what we do not know.

*Have we stood on the deck squarely in the middle, joining knowing dreams and in our reasons*

sailing the seven seas

We say this as if all the seas could be
sailed at once. Rather than the dreary reality
of one wave, then another, each tiny increment
adding to an inscrutable whole.

*Sailing the seven seas strikes out behind the waves, under the shore, under the deck, holding up the world*

in our

As we work quietly in our little rows of grey
carpeted cubicles and plastic keyboards,
our world constricts in our eyes until
only the computer monitor is left.

*The stroke in our dreams links how many times we have stood on the deck--yet the deck separates us from our dreams"


We rely on our dreams to free us.
The changing creaks in our beds become
the creaks in the rigging as we brave our
unknown terrors from a safe distance.

*dreams are above the seas, harbingers of without and reason*


What is it that the sailors longed for enough
to suffer through their terrible storms?
What can the sea crave that is enough
to sustain her waves without breaking once?

*longing connects times and decks, nestled between in our knowing, separated from without*


The shape of absence cannot be delineated
with any more precision than the shapes of
what we do not know. But for all that, it has
an edge sharper than shells of broken barnacles.

*without is the underlying emptiness between dreams and reason, between decks and seas.*


We know the numbers. The plumbed fathoms.
The mapped edges. The scheduled tides.
What we do not know is what
we can not know.

*knowing marks the edge of the word, linking how many times we have stood there*


Reasons are overrated in the overall scheme
of things. The rationale behind the curving of a
seagull's wings does not convey the beauty of the
flight, nor the bird to its promised destination.

*reasons are the lower edge, knowing what is left out of our dreams.*


And that is why the sea keeps on
breathing. Why our dreams keep on
filling the stars and sea.


*on the same outer stroke as knowing reasons, why is a tail hanging on the back of the seven seas*