The Atlantic

a poem from adam:

The Atlantic




I have been thinking of you in England,

And how the others, here with me now,

Seem to patter on like an unwanted rain.


It is true, isn’t it, that the water is needed

By the fields, that without the weight

The world would turn to dust.


And the laws of the earth do not halt,

Even for the lonely among us—

So I turn my eyes from the Atlantic.




Bound by the same laws, the farmer,

Awake in his bed, listens to the lack of wind

Like one who has lost a lover.


In the famine grip of stillness

(That I have said is like death)

He prays for a miracle to rise,


For the gusts of wind to stir his soul

Like a window-rattling opera—

For the rain to quench his unsleeping heart.




Of course the farmer cannot command a storm.

But if life was only the slow acceptance

Of our own limitation, who could love?


Of course more than our prayers

Escape the chains of time and distance.

I am speaking of the Atlantic,


Of standing here on the Eastern shore

With your presence in my memory,

Like a rainbow after a storm.








4 responses to “The Atlantic

  • Bobby

    another great piece. your strength seems to always be in this kind of heartland imagery. boys fishing or farmers farming or the sun setting on an old country home. for a boy from the nice suburbs of wisconsin who now lives in the hip neighborhoods of chicago…i think, inside, you’re dying to move to wyoming! buy a plane ticket young man…or better yet…build a conestoga.

  • zobbyshark

    I think this is my favorite of all your poems. Either your imagery has become more intense and able to shake the roots of this unromantic oak or I have switched into a new season of life that looks away from silent rules and clearly distinguished rings of time. Why do I always feel like I shouls also respond in poetic format? Maybe it is God telling me to slow down long enough to feel my thoughts as oppossed to understanding them.


  • zobbyshark

    Wonderful work, my man. I particularly love the imagery of the weight of rain – how true that all unwanted things dump heaviness upon our souls. And the first stanza of part III (is that proper reference? I’m an ignorant fool…) is delightfully optimistic (no wonder I love it). Speaking of love, it is a concept engulfing you, my friend. Cheers to the burden of a stronger man than I! In my weakness God has chosen to lay more digestible matter on my plate – such as seeking him first in the morning and sharing His joy with my family back here in Big D. I still sing Ray LaMontagne’s “Jolene” because I myself do not know what love means.

  • Charles

    “But if life was only the slow acceptance of our own limitation, who could love?” Adam, this line is profound and tell me you are older than your actual age. Where do you get this stuff? Also, thanks for humbly walking through this poem with a few of us the other night on your Blackberry. Teacher and coach: Keep challenging us not to “slowly accept our own limitation” – whether its how to swing a bat (no “pop-ups”) or staying motivated to hope. You obviously see what can be and it is beyond our own limitation. I also love the “window-rattling opera” allegory – its quite descriptive and kind of rolls off the tongue!

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