By Janet Loxley Lewis
Below the gardens and the darkening pines
The living water sinks among the stones,
Sinking yet foaming till the snowy tones
Merge with the fog drawn landward in dim lines.
The cloud dissolves among the flowering vines,
And now the definite mountain-side disowns
The fluid world, the immeasurable zones.
Then white oblivion swallows all designs.
But still the rich confusion of the sea,
Unceasing voice, sombre and solacing,
Rises through veils of silence past the trees;
In restless repetition bound, yet free,
Wave after wave in deluge fresh releasing
An ancient speech, hushed in tremendous ease.
"Carmel Highlands" from The Selected Poems of Janet Lewis edited by R.L. Barth. Published in 2000 by Swallow Press/Ohio University Press, Athens, Ohio (www.ohioswallow.com).
Source: The Selected Poems of Janet Lewis (Ohio University Press, 2000)
Janet Lewis was born in Chicago, Illinois, and attended the University of Chicago. She founded the literary journal Gyroscope along with her husband, the poet and critic Yvor Winters, and taught at Stanford and the University of California at Berkeley. Known mostly as the author of historical novels, Lewis dedicated both the early and later years of her life to poetry. Her poetry never gained widespread acclaim, but has developed a group of admirers including Kenneth Rexroth, Theodore Roethke, and Dana Gioia. In poems such as “Carmel Highlands,” Lewis creates strong, vivid imagery while writing with rhythmic lyricism.
More Poems about Nature
What Women Are Made Of
We are all ventricle, spine, lung, larynx, and gut.
Clavicle and nape, what lies forked in an open palm;
we are follicle and temple. We are ankle, arch,
sole. Pore and rib, pelvis and root
and tongue. We are wishbone and gland and molar
Of Tribulation, these are They,
Denoted by the White.
— Emily Dickinson
in the split geode
a Santa’s grotto
every surface —
like sea urchins’ —
in the doorways
sleepers from the womb
to make of anything succulent