Salt preserves. Slows time
by fending off decay and so
the sea must be a slow
motion machine since we can
only measure time by change.
It is not just light that moves
differently underwater.

The true treasures are not
always obvious. We rescue,
then neglect. Spend decades
trying to understand knowledge
humans had thousands of years ago.

Lost. Found. Recovered. Discovered.

When we measure the world
we cannot help but reveal
what we value. Like ancient astronomers
who plotted the Olympiad alongside
the path of the planets.

But the sun and the moon did not consult
and refuse to add up.

How many calendars have we invented
To try to make the world make sense?
I anchor my life around the off-kilter
Prime of a seven day week, recite rhymes
To remember how many days are in
A month and mark years where we shove
An extra day in just to try to keep some
Semblance of order. Compute disorder.

I am driven by deadlines.
And yet… and yet…
Flowers bloom. Birds fly South, all
the cliches live on without need
for any diary reminders at all.

Their precision reveals the inevitable
absurdity of calculating at all.
We are still trying to fit the universe
into a mathematical mould
forgetting that it is ever expanding.

Let time fall away. It’s the only way
to write anything worth reading

What did it feel like to be extracted
From the brine? Drying and warping.
Gears sliding. Case cracking.

No longer a tool. Now just a relic.

I have lived in this human body
Long enough to imagine.

Plunge me into the ocean.
Write my life in the stars.

Note: This is part of my series of writing poems about words I did not know. I wrote this poem as an assignment for the Southbank Centre’s New Poet’s collective. It took me about three tries to get here – I scrapped the other two approaches which felt a bit more explanatory. I liked that this felt a bit more imagistic or was asking the reader to make more connections or read between the lines. I feel like it’s still a bit longer than I would like, so I’d like to distill this down a bit further.

The image was generated with Dalle 3 via Microsoft Bing – my first time using an AI image generator!