Have You Ever Looked at Water

by Vikki Willams


Have you ever looked at water?

Have you ever looked at glass?

Have you wondered if you ought to

stand and wait the storm to pass?


Have you seen a faded red rose?

Have you seen when summer’s passed?

Have you wondered at the day’s close

Why the time should even last?


Have you ever felt the ice-wind?

Have you ever felt the fire?

Have you ever had your arm pinned

‘Twixt the blizzard and the pyre?


Have you laughed among the happy?

Have you laughed among the lost?

Have you felt the current lapping

'Round your ankles for the cost?


Have you ever cursed the sunshine?

Have you screamed into the rain?

Have you crossed a bloody fault-line

just to staunch a spreading stain?


Have you learned an invocation?

Have you learned to read some Psalms?

Have you pled for our salvation

Holding outstretched, empty palms?


You have known the disappointment.

You have known the state of shock.

Can you keep your next appointment

If you cannot use the clock?


Have you tasted of the honey?

Have you eaten of the pods?

Have your hunger and your thirsting

Brought you back from other gods?


Have you wept among the lonely?

Have you wept among the weak?

Have you wandered looking only

For the blessing that you seek?


Have you ever felt the wind's tail?

Have you felt the winter's snows?

Have you ever seen a child fail,

and then wonder how it grows?


Have you ever watched the sun rise?

Have you watched it as it set?

Have you wondered when the lark cries

Why your need to rest is met?


Have you looked upon the ocean?

Have you looked upon the shore?

Let us journey up the mountain

Though our feet be scarred and sore.

A note from Vikki: "Have you ever looked at water?" is an intense poem about beauty, loss, the yearning for redemption, and the not-so-easy path to capture it. All this is fitted into a roughly chiastic structure. (That is, when verses are in the sequence A, B, C, C', B', A', the verses A and A', etc. form a pair.)