The Water

by Daniel Hales

See how the wind folds and pleats the water?
Hear how each wave says, repeats: the water?

After two years marooned on pine needles
how eagerly your prow greets the water.

Can you recall the first time you saw it:
that thoroughfare of tall fleets, the water?

It seems I must reintroduce myself
each time that my paddle meets the water.

Bees emerge from flowers pleased as can be.
Where do herons find their treats?  The water.

Have you ever begged for some need as one
lost in the desert entreats the water?

I’ve liquidated all my metaphors
except for my favorite conceits, the water.

Is the bottom near?  Farther than it seems?
Master of countless deceits, the water.

There’s always more waiting to be reborn;
a cloud congregation completes the water.

Thanks to hydroelectric engineers
a dam efficiently eats the water.

Never content to remain in one place,
it approaches and retreats, the water.

A truly humbling sight to behold:
how a waterfall unseats the water.

Though a sea insists it is infinite
how easily the sky beats the water.

If I could ask it to teach me one thing:
how it accepts its defeats, the water.

Eventually time will erase me
just as a long drought deletes the water.

I’m another whose name’s writ on the waves,
syllables scrawled on its sheets, the water.

You challenge me: go ahead and name one;
a poet better than Keats?  The Water.