Love Lost

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Force of Nature

Moaning wind, night sea tossed
Spray above the gunwhales
Angry seas, topped with white
New earth a mountain funnels.

Nature's forces, orchestrated
By an unseen hand.
Fire, clouds, lightning bolts
Rake both sea and land.

Ghostly islands thrusting upward,
Clawed by towering wave
Clashing forces locked in struggle
Ancient tones pervade.

Come to me, words torn quickly
In the howling scene,
Come to me, eyes closed gently,
Come to me, Ondine.

Appear she does, in lunar glow,
Dancing on the sky.
Cloud enshrouded, eyes alighted,
Come to me, please try.

Sadly too much separation
Keeps our touch apart,
I sense a growing desperation,
Coursing from her heart.

Yet somehow, like a force of nature,
Love sustains a bond
Ondine, my beauteous earthly creature,
Rises to respond.

I feel her head upon my shoulder,
Smell her freshened hair,
Feel her hand excite my body,
Hold her while she's there.

Fleeting time our enemy,
On we sail to Lipari,
Creating happy memory
Of moments bound in love.

Sadly must embrace dissolve,
Ending night marine,
Come again, o force of nature,
Come again, Ondine.

Background on "Force of Nature."
I spent September 2005 in Italy, during which time I visited the Aeolian Islands northeast of Sicily, accessible only by ferry.  One day I visited the now active volcano atop the island of Stromboli.  It was magnificent to circle the island by day and view the smoke emitted from a giant gash in the mountain's peak.  I could even see boulders, some the size of cars, bouncing thousands of feet down the ash gray sides of the volcano, then exploding into the sea.  But even more dramatic was the return voyage after dinner on the island, which is when Ondine made her presence known.

Leaving Stromboli's port at dusk, it was just dark as we rounded the island's northeast corner, directly into a wind blowing hard from the northwest, a wind the Italians call maestrale.  High above us the volcano had formed its own cloud.  The powerful ferry was cutting through huge night sea swells, forcing all the passengers below decks, except me.  Having ridden out many a storm on the bridge of U.S. Navy ships, I actually enjoyed the heave of the boat, the wind whipping across the deck and the occasional strong spray of sea water that raked the upper deck.  Over the howl of wind, as I grasped the rail behind the bridge for balance, I was able to listen to Ondine's and my music on my iPod.  Over everything was a full moon sliding across the southern sky, often obscured by fast moving dark clouds.

In this foreign seascape, Ondine came to me through the awesome power of nature.  First I saw the orange glow of lava eruptions, muted by the cloud over the volcano.  I watched in amazement as these incandescent puffs of orange lasted a minute or more, creating new earth in a scene from Dante.  Plowing through the seas, I next sensed Ondine as we passed a cluster of islands near Panarea.  To the south, over the main island of Sicily, were spectacular bolts of lightning followed by the powerful crash of thunder. The moon illuminated ghostly island shapes to port as enormous waves attacked their flanks.  Finally, as we approached our home port of Lipari, I witnessed the sight of a cloud, shaped like a woman with her left shoulder turned toward me, cross the moon in just such a way that the moon formed a lighted face.  In that face, I saw Ondine, riding the storm, dancing in the sky, laughing with the peals of thunder.  She was free, in her element, a force of nature.  But in life I often saw Ondine as a force of nature.  She could be totally uninhibited in her enthusiasm for her lifestyle, wild and bizarre at times, though always in control.  In any case, surrounded by the pitching boat, the howling wind and the music we shared, I was humbled by it all, and delighted to see Ondine so happy as she revealed herself to me again with such power.

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Force of Nature