Poetry‎ > ‎

Wake Up

Wake Up, Newport Arts Festival, 2000

Despierta, mi bien, despierta,

mira que ya amaneció

ya los pajarillos cantan,

la luna ya se metió.

F.G. Lorca

Wake up tall blonde beauties of the beaches of Curacao!

Wake up darkling, smiley, brief-cased men of Oz!

Wake up iron blacksmiths of Newport!

Wake up bandoliers of Spain!

Wake up merchants of Venice and Geneva!

Wake up Metacom and Miantonomi!

Wake up you whalemen of the Azores

and Yankee sailors of Menemsha,

all you peg-legs squeezing spermaceti,

widows walking turrets in the fog!

Wake up innkeepers, minutemen of Rochambeau!

Wake up Oedipus, Orestes, and Orion!

Wake up scuba divers from the Cote d'Azur!

You astronomers of Gaza, wake!

Wake up winter surfers from Second Beach!

Wake up fabulists from the Mare Imbrium,

you young divers of the Russian Kursk!

Wake up you passengers of Egypt Air 990!

Wake up door jambs, electric eyes and eels!

Wake up radio towers and ocean windmills!

Wake up doctors, philistines, beggars, and clams!

Wake up Mumford, Twin Tower day traders,

fire stokers, fiction writers and fictional Godzillas!

Wake up Melville from your Encantada-sleep,

you centuries-old tortoises and human frogs,

you cranberry bog-dwelling water moccasins!

Wake up workers from the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire,

and you from hanging trees behind church spires!

Wake up Amistad and actors who played in Amistad,

wake up nuns, Benedictines, you Women of Bath,

bathers in boiling Dead Sea salts, walkers

on water and those who walk to dole out bread!

Winos, windsurfers, wind-bedraggled dogs,

whelks of the deepest waters of Mariana Trench!

Wake up giant squid, you cute Sargasso cuttlefish!

Wake up anthracite, black slag granite of the Eocene,

trampolines, tapestries, you human fly who dared

to rim the World Trade Centers, tight-roping

between two worlds, too thinning economies!

Wake up organists, onanists and devotees of disbelief,

a minister’s black veil across a vale of Paradise,

up to the roughneck hawk runs of Hanging Rock!

Wake up Eidolon! You barques and galleons

of Spanish fleets, Barbary pirates, fast rumrunners,

ghosts of shipwrecked sailors at Mount Desert,

wind-tossed ships of the North Atlantic lost:

Abyssinia, Baltimore City, Circe, City of Limerick,

St. Lawrence and Titania, wake up!

Wake up you few who swam the English channel,

who stood in Crete against the Minotaur!

Wake up vagabonds, clairvoyants, you French sun kings!

Wake up surgeons, nurses, needle-grinders,

coat-check girls, and surly football quarterbacks!

Wake up Hmong fishermen of Laos and Vietnam!

Wake up idolaters and toxicologists!

Wake up nobody and the girl who sang a lullaby

on the soapy lintel of a Narragansett bathhouse!

Wake up string theory and nuclear missile shields!

Wake up Hiroshima, Petrograd, and Timbuktu!

Wake up Blake and Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac!

Wake up Oprah, Jenny Jones, and Dr. Phil!

Wake up the Breakers’ great green lawn on fire,

Cape Verde plowmen come to Providence,

Azores milkmaids here to celebrate the Holy Ghost!

Wake up carpenteiros, pearl divers, cavalry parades,

wake up sleepwalkers of the Northern forests,

the Finnish princess mummy with long braids!

Wake up, ice floes of Reykjanesfolkvangur,

the terra incognito of the green-faced aborigine!

Wake up Olympian runners from Belarus!

Wake up writers of the Children of the Corn,

you damp-lipped philosophes who cultivate

your gardens at the bottom of the Adriatic!

Wake up cadaver-dogs, MPs of the DMZ,

the Tigris Valley, the mosques of ancient Ur,

the desert palms beyond Manchuria!

Wake up teeming roomfuls of Siamese cats!

Wake up, Lovecraft, dreaming of spooky Federal Hill,

and loons of Sachuest, seals of Cormorant Rock!

Wake up Rock of Gibraltar, Tuscaloosa rock salt,

Pokanokets of Mt. Hope and you at Pawcatuck,

lemurs of Lemuria, mountains majesty,

toadstools of the Orient, smoky chalcedony

and mermaids calling from the Forty Steps,

luring the Dublin seamstress, the ancient

shantytowns and Hoovervilles of Idaho,

of Manahatto, calling by telegraph cables

laid from Green Hill to Graciosa, a universe

of thumbtacks, pulleys, metronomes, and scimitars!

Wake up to the sound of breakers rolling slowly on,

to the shores where donkeys pull so we can eat,

to the waves that break up castles, cottages,

the secrets of a Fairy Queen, a fear that stings

like salt on skin, the midnight skinny dip,

a word sent out to strangers at Aquidneck,

to hyacinth and cow dung, a moonflower

hiatus, the craters of the moon so bright

and near that we can see its tongue of fire

that laps pure hopefulness— for a hundred

years from now, the sea will still not sleep.

Wake up Hartford dreamers, somnambulists,

wake up, my friends, to keep the ocean company!