The Summer Glare
Aboard the Pequod, Ishmael describes the
Japanese Sea as illumined by “freshets of effulgences”
or overflowing streams of brilliant light.
Did he, while in Nantucket, not experience
what we, in Gloucester, find daily in our summer sky?
Here, where the ocean cleanses the air and
allows the sun to reach us without filter;
where most summer days produce an explosion
of light that washes out the brilliant colors
around us and makes us squint to get around town;
Where shadows are not soft and moody, but
are stark and sharp, and walking down a flight
of outside stairs requires most careful placement
of our feet, and where we learn to recognize
people and places by their silhouettes,
and where sun and sand and sea glare so that we
sense the beach, rather than see it, like actors
looking past the footlights to an unseen audience,
and where patterns in the sand go unnoticed
as we walk the shore into the cauldron’s fearsome light.
It’s as if we cannot be trusted with
the airs of summer; that we must be
protected from the magnificence around us
lest we succumb to this abundance of beauty
if we should see all that is within the glare.
© Marty Luster 2012