Chosen Landscape

Sometimes the sea plays its green piano
In the 4/4 time
Of the blues.

Sometimes it plays nocturnes—
The moon knows
Exactly how to glimmer on.

The way the sea hammers
The keys, tonight,
If I could take my sister’s hand

I’d lead her into the breaking
Waves so we could become the keys
The sea plays.
So we could feel a hundred fingers
Strum along our eyes.

And if, when the refrain came,
My sister asked,
Have I heard this song before?
Would I tell her

It’s the song our mother sang
As she spread your ashes on the bluff?
The terns riding slow thermals above us.

Or would I duck beneath the surface,
Wrap myself in ringing water,
As if it were the worn blanket
She pressed around me

Before turning out the lights.
Leaving me to dreams of white birds
Hunting in gray water.




Benjamin Gucciardi works with refugee and immigrant youth in Oakland, California. When not working with young people, he spends as much time as he can in the ocean and other wild places of Northern California. Benjamin is a winner of the 2013 Dorothy Rosenberg Memorial Prize.

Photo of moon and sea courtesy Shutterstock.

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2 Responses

  1. John

    Amazing imagery! Love what you did while incorporating music into this!

    • Kaeble

      I loved your poem. I got chills in the sixth stanza. & How you personify the sea by giving it the ability to play you like a piano- truly wonderful.

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