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.
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.
love keeps returning to itself, like the sea.