David W. Clippinger, Ph.D.

David Clippinger


Two Waves
(after Hokusai's "Great Wave")


The great wave dwarfs them
as they huddle at the end of the boat,
waiting for the hollow to sweep past.
But at this moment, the wave is suspended,
the force of the curl halted,
frozen in gnarled foam.
The men, clustered together,
amassed against the inevitable surge,
poised in a moment that neither comes
nor passes.

How life freezes us, like that.
We bow and steady ourselves,
even give it names
--loss, grief, death, or, say, love--
as if the words stave off 
the inevitable, and pierce through
to the impenetrable other side.
Yet we brace ourselves,
not knowing what awaits,
although certain another swell will follow:

My friend Rob, dead over a year,
and my seven month old son,
knifing through the blankness of grief,
countering loss with the steady swell of love.