South Fork Poetry

‘Last-Minute Message for a Time Capsule’ By Philip Appleman

I have to tell you this, whoever you are:
that on one summer morning here, the ocean
pounded in on tumbledown breakers,
a south wind, bustling along the shore,
whipped the froth into little rainbows,
and a reckless gull swept down the beach
as if to fly were everything it needed.
I thought of your hovering saucers,
looking for clues, and I wanted to write this down,
so it wouldn’t be lost forever —
that once upon a time we had
meadows here, and astonishing things,
swans and frogs and luna moths
and blue skies that could stagger your heart.
We could have had them still,
and welcomed you to earth, but
we also had the righteous ones
who worshipped the True Faith, and Holy War.
When you go home to your shining galaxy,
say that what you learned
from this dead and barren place is
to beware the righteous ones.


    The above poem is from Philip Appleman’s ninth collection, “Perfidious Proverbs and Other Poems: A Satirical Look at the Bible,” published last month by Humanity Books. Mr. Appleman, who has a house in East Hampton, will read at the Poetry Marathon at the Marine Museum in Amagansett on Sunday at 5 p.m.