“Nautilus Shell” by Wally Swist

Wally Swist

NAUTILUS SHELL

You have become 
old; every winter the cold cuts deeper into your bones.

You have become this
matrix of presence connected to memories—

that biology kit, a Christmas gift,
when you were twelve, that snowless holiday in 1965—

to that lifetime ago
when you were a young man,

the one whose dreams and losses you have eclipsed—
to now, toward the end,

as you hold the hollowness of all that
like an empty nautilus shell, whose spiral mollusk shape

holds everything and nothing, whose resonance within
issues with the sounds of the sea,

in the crashing of waves—
along the coast of a familiar, but otherworldly, shore.

from Rattle #48, Summer 2015

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Wally Swist: “I often write in direct relation to my experience of the interconnectedness of the natural world, and often while I am within nature itself—whether on a trail, in my studio looking out over the open meadow toward Long Mountain, or walking beside the seaside, in my mind, or by the rolling breakers of the ocean. Accessing the working transcendent is a significant key for me in maintaining a fertile creativity and an active spirituality, which eventually can be shared with readers.” (website)