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The Nameless Depths 

Slip off the weight of land, and drift 

On ripples black and silver, float 

Where weary fishers cast and lift 

Their nets, till stirring up the same 

Dark waters into sudden flame 

They leave behind the boat 


A wake of curling, liquid light 

Swirling within their hungry lee, 

And through the winds that chill the night 

They sing of waters deep below 

The keel, the nets they lift and throw, 

Toiling in drudgery — 


Sing of the fathoms past the foam 

Of storms, past ships becalmed, beset 

With monsters — far beneath, where roam 

Things never seen by human eyes, 

Which, like the stars of distant skies 

Known in no language yet 


Live, die, decay in worlds beyond 

All words. Can any language tell 

Of grounds where never light has dawned 

Of creatures Death may never know 

Past the kelp-forests, far below 

The tide’s soft, gentle swell? 


Speak of the beauty none can dream 

Where some sweet, nameless current sings, 

In darkness pure, but for the gleam 

Which stirs in shapes no sun has seen 

The blue, the red, the shimmering green — 

A world of deathless things. 


But who could fathom such a place, 

And who has ever touched that ground? 

The songs of fishers ever grace 

The air, and to the depths return 

Their souls, where nameless songs they learn, 

Known only to the drowned.


By Karin Murray-Bergquist

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