Sea Longing



Jody Stewart lives on a retired farm in western Massachusetts, where, as our photo shows, she has a camel.


Author of a number of books and chapbooks (which are very short books, shorter than novellas) her most recent publication is This Momentary Word, Selected Poems, from Nine Mile Books, 2022.


This beautiful poem, “Sea Longing was written in the early ’80s when a Guggenheim Fellowship took her to St. Ives, Cornwall in the UK, where she returned to live for the next 7 years. 





The author Photo provided by Wonderlust

Sea Longing



St. Ives. The streets are sighing

in their salt-damp, vertical stone.

I can hear the tide’s

incessant thunder as our sky twists

with such a wind it blisters the stars.

When you were five and first went to sea,

I was spending absent, air-borne eyes

on books and imaginary friends

until all my world filled in.


But your white-shouldered world

has mutable edges, the sea

her own desires. Once, nets shot over,

a rope coiled around your leg

and you went too, down

with just a caught breath

between your ribs. Knife quickly drawn,

you managed to cut through

until you soared violently upward

into the borderless air.


Now wind is pulling along our cliffs

as the salt-and-holy water of St. Eia’s font

rides out to where fish are waiting

for the silvery reach of your nets.

It’s a daily business, like love

and questions of faith. You and I

touch and separate at the will of the wind.

Knowing this

love keeps returning to itself, like the sea.