Deepening Evening

George Spaeth

Squrriel Island

The sea’s a strange mosaic of varying shades
Of patterned grays, extending out to where
It meets a sky of hazy gauzelike grays,
Softer than the sea’s glazed surface. There,
As tiny, darker spots, eight eider lie
Quietly, on the slowly rolling sea;
The chicks remain within their mother's view.
The males are floating by themselves; though black,
When preening brilliant bursts of white show through.
Suddenly, they break the surface glaze,
And disappear into the darkening haze.


Although the ocean, now, looks almost flat,
Small wavelets gently break against the rocks.
The clock beside my desk reminds me that
The man-made world is here, the ticks and tocks
A steady counterpoint to the apparently
Less controlled polyphony of the sea.


Just then a screaming motorboat speeds past
With several jumping boys, excited by
The noise and power. The startled eider scatter
Into the vastness of the darkening sky.


The boys and boat and noise are gone. The gash
The speedboat cut into the sea has disappeared.
As evening settles in the sky is strangely flatter,
Lighter, as are all the shades of grays.
One slightly bobbing eider floats alone
Towards a veil of thin embroidered white
Edging the coming of the welcome night.