Poetry: North Coast Chorus by Bethan Tyler
In “North Coast Chorus,” the speaker empathizes with the rampant imperfections of nature; like the poet’s flailing body, nature, waves and wind, crash and yet manage to resemble rebirth.
North Coast Chorus
Somewhere near Trinidad on the coast road
A bear cub stumbles into darkness
To feast on beach strawberry,
Redwood and cypress struggle against
Salt wind. The horizon is a smudge,
A failed disposable I took in 2005
Before I saw the whole world through
Auxiliary lenses. The cameras now reshape
My face without asking. Such a loss:
In nature everything fails beautifully.
Tonight the waves are clumsy, they crash too soon.
I love them for this, their hurrying and tripping.
I dare not hold them to a tempo.
O to love my body, which yields to pain,
The way I do these waves.
When we take to the tent the neighbors are laughing.
Ferns feather the ceiling. I try to lose my body
To this landscape, to discard it like a dead thing,
But the pain drones on: alive, alive, alive.
The night smells wet and vegetal, sounds like
Twigs snapping. Everything in motion.
I yield, I fail. Maybe
I’ve confused success with control.
A mile away, the waves keep improvising.
The moon will not foretell their music.
Alive, alive, alive.