sylvia cavanaugh
Sky View
by Sylvia Cavanaugh

          “That dolphin-torn, that gong-tormented sea”
                    From “Byzantium,” by William Butler Yeats

It was the Cape Cod tidal pool that
taught me I breathe air like the dolphins.
I had believed in my body before it was torn
from the sand floor by a fast rising tide that
tilted back my head in reflexive gasp, gong-
knell filling my brain. ‘Til a man saw my tormented
sky-bound eyes. He saved me from the salt blue sea.

PHOTO: The author, Cape Cod, Massachusetts (1966).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: We used to vacation at the Jersey shore, and I always loved going to the beach. One year, we went to Cape Cod, which felt wild and exciting. There was a warm pool of ocean water on the beach, which was fun to play in. Suddenly, the high tide came in and I found myself unexpectedly lifted from the ocean floor and set adrift. My body reflexively assumed the drowning person’s stance, and I stared helplessly at the deep blue sky of Cape Cod, until I was rescued. I still remember the trip fondly, and am very happy, now, to be living near the shore of Lake Michigan. I used the line form Yeats to create a Golden Shovel poem, because I love the way in which that line depicts the sea as dangerous.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Originally from Pennsylvania, Sylvia Cavanaugh has an M.S. in Urban Planning from the University of Wisconsin. She teaches high school African and Asian cultural studies and advises break dancers and poets. She and her students are involved in the Sheboygan chapter of 100,000 Poets for Change. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her poems have appeared in An Arial Anthology, Gyroscope Review, The Journal of Creative Geography, Midwest Prairie Review, Seems, Stoneboat Literary Journal, Verse-Wisconsin, and elsewhere. She is a contributing editor for Verse-Virtual: An Online Community Journal of Poetry.

AUTHOR PHOTO: Michigan Avenue, Chicago.