Seaside Drama

The waves were high today.
We stood with the Sunday crowd
Along the La Jolla shoreline,
Safe behind the steel rails civilization builds
To protect its
Tame little ants from the hand of God.
The seals
Lay indolent on the rocks below,
Sheltered by the sea-wall we so thoughtfully provided them.

Behind this, the dark blue stirred.
Crests rose up,
Long, straight fronts advancing
Like Roman legions,
Others lagging well behind,
The reinforcements.
At first these were serene,
But smooth and tranquil.
Unopposed, they glided inland,
Like the silent gulls skimming the air above us.
As they neared the wall, however,
Dissension often fell into their ranks;
Their tops rolled under into a tumult of hissing foam.
Their might spent,
These fell against the wall, dissipated,
But a few—
The stronger ones—
Smashed against the barrier
Throwing furies of spray into the seals' sanctuary,
And there were ooh's and ah's from the gallery.

This is how we see the world, isn't it?
Like star-dazed movie-goers,
Like watching TV
Before going to bed.
Nature has become Hollywood to us,
Something you can watch on the Discovery Channel
While lounging on the sofa;
That is to say...
     A strange, misty lie.
Nestled in our offices
Our Edison-lit homes,
Locked in computer-labs,
Muddling through the inner-city gridlock,
Or huddled in the din of crowded nightclubs,
It is but a remote dream.
We are all so changed,
And in many ways for the better,
In many ways...
But as we look on the might that awed the ancients,
How often we
Smile and wonder:
"What's for dinner tonight?"
We are the little gods, and divine we are!
Masters of land and sea and sky.

But our spirits are heavy
In the nest of our creation.
Our swelling cities whine and groan,
Their people asking themselves,
"What the Hell am I here for, anyway?"
Our peace with,
Our command of
Has left us idle and sullen.
We turn to each other in our dense abundance
And our wills clash like the angry din of sea-foam.
Ideas, feelings rise up
From the musings of the thoughtful,
From the ecstasy of the artist,
From the industry of the enterprising,
And from the rage of the discontented,
Become waves:
Timid waves,
Soaring waves,
Roaring waves,
Hissing, cacophonous waves,
Waves of exaltation,
Waves of destruction.
Waves and waves
     and waves
Churning the sea of our collective will,
And we wonder
If some gawking gaggle of gods on high
Might ooh and ah for us as we
Heave the pomp of our mighty wrath
Against the shores of the unknown
And the unknowable.

George Chadderdon © 1998