Arts & Culture · Poetry

Poetry Sunday: Surviving the Seas

Irene Latham does two quite amazing things in this eloquent short poem.  While inscribing the message of how marriage is a craft in which many weather the rough waters and terrors of life, she creates a strong vessel to carry the words.  We are fortunate to witness her dismissal of escape—such a mature and determined celebration of survival.


Marriage in a Bottle

The sea is vaster than we expected. It’s true
the waves swell and sharks circle
the smallest drop of blood. By luck
or miracle, we’ve passed through

the bellies of many beasts, our
weathered cork allowing no ruinous
flood to drown us. Our worry
is the waves bouncing us around

when what we crave is stillness,
stopping short of boredom—or mortality.
What beast or lord on that shore
will offer to heal our bruising? 

Our injuries and all the ways we blend
become what we love best in ourselves.
The sea widens each day we sail,
but we no longer seek escape to any shore.

                       Reprinted with the poet’s permission from the forthcoming “The Sky Between Us”


irene1Irene Latham is an award-winning poet and novelist from Birmingham, Alabama. Her passion for poetry started as soon as she could read and write, with Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends and love poems she crafted for her mother. Named Alabama State Poetry Society’s 2006 Poet of the Year, Irene has served as poetry editor for Birmingham Arts Journal since 2003. Her third volume of poetry, The Sky Between Us, was released January 7, 2014. Visit her website to learn more:

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  • Cher February 23, 2014 at 8:06 am

    Simply beautiful…

    I worked and lived on the sea, and in my mind’s eye, I thought what a photograph of mine could I lay your intense words on…. as a professional photographer, I like to match prose with imagery….yet your poem stands alone (no photograph required), each word inviting one it for more… The sea is like a marriage, with its ebbs and flows, and daily tides… forever changing…

    Thank you for sharing this Sunday Poem with us today!

    Cheryl Fleming Photography