Cast on Water

in Poems

(For My Father)

The North Atlantic
was not my coun­try.
Its wild waves crashed
unre­gard­ing of the small girl
at their edge, who knew only
the soft brown Ohio hur­ry­ing
down to Cairo. My father
took me up in his arms
and waded in. A wave

tall as a moun­tain surged
over us as he cried, “Cast
on water!” and strode toward
the next. It arched and fell
across us. His arms tight­ened.
I was blind with salt, deaf
with water, but still he strode
on, and still they broke
over us, and still he cried,
“Cast on water!” till sud­denly
we were beyond them in the
calm deep sea. I would have

cried, I would have begged
for shore, but in the strength
of his hold­ing, his voice roar­ing,
I found the strength of my small
arms and legs. Now the wild
water of the Colorado, chaffed by
the cliffs of the Grand Canyon,
carry the North Atlantic’s obliv­i­ous
threat, but I, tossed in a raft

that seems as silly as a bath­tub duck,
hold on with all my strength, repeat­ing,
“Cast on water!” and laugh as the
great cold wave breaks over me.

View all of Sallie's online writing in her archives.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add your own }

Alex Traube March 1, 2011 at 9:29 am

Lovely poem, dear Sallie.


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