Sonata for Ocean Organ in C Minor

de Sarah Ens

An exposition
          you’d read descent
          was the closest thing to
          grace, and you’d try
          anything once, twice, it’s not
          like you said you were looking
          to get reborn, just suggested
          this was for your health
          when asked, which you were,
          many times.

A development
          grip flippers to your feet
          in a crowd of concert-divers,
          most middle-aged, paired, leaning
          hands onto shoulders, bulging sticky
          wet suits. one woman wears
          a leather jacket. you watch
          her fold its arms flat, slide
          keys to its pocket. you pat
          yourself down,
          consider what you too
          should leave on shore.
                    floating from the harbour you
          feel shivered, scuba-ed. barges
          bellow, too far to see. you feed
          a gull one of your fries and it’s
          ungrateful while four men sing
          shanties from the railing. catch
          the bassist’s eye as he
          wipes sea spray from his chin.
          you know already, it’ll be
          an unsteady somersault
          below the waves.
                    maybe you’d hoped for the feeling of
          your pastor’s palm
          on the crown of your head,
          water lukewarmed from a shallow
          clay bowl rivering your neck
          but instead, slipped
          open-mouthed into Atlantic,
          your chest does not believe
          its oxygen. the organist is small,
          you think, smaller than she
          should be. her fingers,
          waiting, curl like melting ice.
                    she bends on her bench. begins
          and you miss the silence of hall,
          raised baton, even
          that one stray cough’s
          ricochet, didn’t expect
          terror churning breath
          through pipes, bloomed
          then swallowed, kelp
          reaching tender for silver
          spires, toying in the blue.
          there is no disappearing, only
          opening clean, enormous,
          the water too
          full, fish low, startled, specks of
          silt, and limbs
          treading, an angel choir
          left in the flood.
                    kick soft.

A recapitulation
          it’s impossible
          to dive into a cold body
          without breaching

          it’s impossible
          to hear much of
          anything above
          the moan of metal

          except, sometimes,
          the blue of skin
          by god.


Note des compositeurs :

Pour « Sonata for Ocean Organ in C minor », nous avons tenté de rester fidèles au combat entre le sacré et le profane qui se trouve au cœur du poème. Nous avons suivi l’arc narratif de celui-ci de très près, en commençant à la surface, avec des sons de bateaux qui craquent, des cordes qui se resserrent, des chants de marins, pour finalement plonger dans la baie, entendre la musique, et tenter de comprendre l’opposition entre l’état divin et l’état terrestre, dans les profondeurs.

(Écouter la composition d'Adrian Foster et Joel Peters, inspirée par le poème de Sarah.)


Sarah Ens est une écrivaine et redactrice vivant à Winnipeg. Elle est diplomée du programme de création littérarire de l'université de la Colombie-Brittanique. Ses œuvres sont publiées dans plusieurs revues littéraires, dont Prairie Fire, Poetry is Dead et Arc Poetry Magazine. Son chat est l'auteur prolifique de haïkus tristes sur Instagram (@balto_thesleddog).