Galilee

The gulls are fighting over clams in cakes.
Among the yawning cracks of rocks, we walk
as delicate as dreams when one awakes.

Chowder in our bellies, stomach aches,
we’re locals who will want to stroll and talk.
The gulls are fighting over clams in cakes.

We watch the widowed, white-capped wave that breaks.
At Galilee extends an arm of rock
as delicate as dreams when one awakes.

A cloud of witnesses surrounds us now and takes
some photos of the greedy, gathered flock.
The gulls are fighting over clams in cakes.

The bolder the gulls become, the fewer mistakes,
taking possession, eyes like steel and chalk,
as delicate as dreams when one awakes.

Crumbs of pity, for orphaned gulls’ sakes,
are tossed by innocent tourists. We locals mock.
The gulls are fighting over clams in cakes
as delicate as dreams when one awakes.

{This is my first attempt at a villanelle. It was inspired by a memory of feeding clam cakes to seagulls at Galilee, in Rhode Island, my home state.

It was also inspired by a recent reading of Psalm 73 (which I believe to be a beautiful Psalm, and which is one of my favorites, despite its imprecatory tone).

Finally, it was indirectly inspired by one of my favorite stories from childhood—Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach}