Feeling the flow

American Life in Poetry

I like poems that rhyme so smoothly and inconspicuously that when you get to the end and look back you’re surprised to discover that you’ve just read a sonnet, like this one by Eleanor Channell, who lives in California. This poem appeared in the journal Rattle.


If you weren’t here, I’d fear the surge

of surf. I’d watch the moon wax and wane,

feel the constant pulling of tides, the urge 

to drown myself in pity and booze, to explain 

my life as “Cape Disappointment” with hard luck 

spinning and winning souls like mine, a jetty 

of riprap pointing to my faults, the muck 

of my past too deep to dredge.  But you say 

you see in me a strength that strengthens you, 

a heart that yearns for your heart and finds it, 

upsetting even the odds we thought we knew, 

renewing old hopes, confounding old conflicts.

All I know is we’re here, my love, our bed warm, 

your body a bulwark to ride out the storm.