“The multitudinous seas incarnadine”
Are not supposed to be incarnadine,
Nor should they be as dark as Homer’s wine,
Let alone “multitudinous.”
Whitman finds a multitude in us,
And maybe in those seas incarnadine
We’d find a lot of creatures such as fish—
As many forms of life as we might wish
To have along with some of Homer’s wine—
In colorations that are pink, or red
As lobsters turn when they are boiled and dead,
But no seafood from seas incarnadine
On which we’d planned to dine at dinner time,
Flavored with a pinch or two of thyme
And followed by a glass of Homer’s wine.
One could not fathom waters such as these,
And who would venture out to fish such seas
If they should be as dark as Homer’s wine,
These multitudinous seas incarnadine?
Lewis Turco is the author of The Book of Forms: A Handbook of Poetics, aka “The poet’s Bible” (1968, now in its fourth edition, UPNE, 2011), and The Hero Enkidu: An Epic (just published this year by Bordighera).