Yusef Komunyakaa, “Longitudes”

Untitled-Bernard-Frize-Yusef-Komunyakaa-LongitudesThe New York Times Magazine published the above watercolor by Bernard Frize as a visual accompaniment to Yusef Komunyakaa’s poem “Longitudes”:


Before zero meridian at Greenwich
Galileo dreamt Dante on a ship
& his beloved Beatrice onshore,
both holding clocks, drifting apart.

His theory was right even if
he couldn’t steady the ship
on rough seas beyond star charts
& otherworldly ports of call.

‘‘But the damn blessed boat
rocked, tossing sailors to & fro
like a chorus of sea hags
in throes of ecstasy.’’

My whole world unmoors
& slips into a tug of high tide.
A timepiece faces the harbor —
a fixed point in a glass box.

You’re standing on the dock.
My dreams of you are oceanic,
& the Door of No Return
opens a galactic eye.

If a siren stations herself
between us, all the clocks
on her side, we’ll find each other
sighing our night song in the fog.

— “An Artist and a Poet Find Beauty in Solitude,” The New York Times Magazine