AT THE FISHHOUSES

I have seen it over and over, the same sea, the same,slightly, indifferently swinging above the stones,icily free above the stones,above the stones and then the world.If you should dip your hand in,your wrist would ache immediately,your bones would begin to ache and your hand would burnas if the water were a transmutation of firethat feeds on stones and burns with a dark grey flame.If you tasted it, it would first taste bitter,then briny, then surely burn your tongue.It is like what we imagine knowledge to be:dark, salt, clear, moving, utterly free,drawn from the cold hard mouthof the world, derived from the rocky breastsforever, flowing and drawn, and sinceour knowledge is historical, flowing, and flown.
Extract from "At the Fishhouses" from The Complete Poems 1927-1979, by Elizabeth Bishop.
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