“Yes! in the sea of life enisled
With echoing straits between us thrown
Dotting the shoreless watery wild
We mortal millions live alone.”
— Matthew Arnold

A lonely gull circles her maritime island
Sending forth quiet calls of desperation
In the drafting air.
She circles, never veering
From her known, safe world
And waits.
She listens for a reassuring response
But misses it amid the shifting winds.
She does not notice the gentle rapping
On the door of her Soul.
Dejected, she lands on the sandy shore,
Crying saltwater tears.


“Not, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
Not untwist — slack they may be — these last strands of man
In me or, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;
— Gerard Manley Hopkins

A searching gull rides the open sea breezes.
His wing tips tickle the swirling winds, taking
Him wherever he wants to go.
The wind brings to him a call for help;
He answers with a timid call of Love
And waits.
The same pained cry comes again, unreconciled.
He dives in the once-playful winds, searching
For the source of pain. The sun sets
And rises to find him circling still.
He will not give up.


“I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
— E. B. Browning

After a forever, his defeated wings force
Him down to a sandy stretch.
He walks down the beach, resting
His rubbery limbs until he discovers
Another gull, with clipped spirit.
He nurtures her, preening her feathers
And fetching her food
And waits.
Slowly she returns to health
And once again attempts flight.

Now they twist
In updrafts and whirlwinds,
Sunlight sparkling
From their grey-white wings.
Their wing tips brush
And they are Alive
Knowing they are no longer

— Stace Johnson, 1987


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