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poem - ashes on the ocean

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Written to perform around a fire at a solstice event with a cold-water immersion group in Victoria, BC. See National Post article here.

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Ashes on the ocean: a solstice song

sing, oh heroes

all you here

around this pyre.

sing now

shivering glorious

sea drunk and battle hardened from these years

these strange flowing years

that have not killed us.

sing

yes.

though we will die

we are not dead.

the years and the sea have not yet collected us—even as we venture in them

plunging into the dark waves

with eels and dragons

with strange suns and waning moon

with the bite of cold

signalling to us with deep knowing passion.

sing.

this pyre before us

is not today for us.

it burns solstice time.

it bathes us in ash of a once mighty tree.

a ghost joining our wild spirits

living on in the clear eyes

and sinews

and strengths

gathered here now.

we receive.

so breathe—

wade into the cold

away from home and the known

breathe—

the allway invitation of the ocean

breathe new shores and new ways

breathe a new light in a new time.

receive now here.

touch your hand to the ground—

you will know.

spread your toes in the sand—

in that soil—

you will hear.

and feel the flame of this dawn fire—

so you will burn.

sing yes

with all breath

sing yes.