A review of Mario Savioni’s poem,
“The Sea is Watching”
By Marta Pombo Sallés
The Sea is Watching
In some complacent nest,
I saw the open door –
The extraordinary field of innocence.
She weeps having not expected
To be a party to purity.
It is a field of fog at the end of the lake,
Where the weeds swirl.
He says, “I do not need tea.”
Again, the swirling field.
He walks alone along the edge.
Do you know the sound of water lapping?
A sun setting behind reeds?
He hears laughter not meant for him
“Death waits not on age.”
“The young sometimes die before the old.”
She loves him, this slayer of rice paper.
She races in winter to free him.
They cry on a bridge.
She is shadowed.
Spring is the answer.
Or is it summer?
In it, I see the weakness of men,
And a woman’s burden is to trust.
But we are not strong enough
To carry the weight of ourselves
Through this eagerness.
Laughter there is none.
A bloodied mouth, the searing wind,
As if evil came,
Then rain, a purity.
The field weak now,
And then suddenly it stops.
Who is the wiser?
So much lucky red silk –
Two women wait,
While the sea is watching.
It is like Noah,
And so they sit
Looking at stars from a rooftop.
It is about men and their gentleness,
As she waves the lantern in space
And sees the shooting star.
A review By
Marta Pombo Sallés
I was rereading Mario Savioni’s book entitled ‘After’
(http://www.blurb.com/b/1986861-after) and had a closer look at the poem “The Sea is Watching”.
I like it very much as a poem, having found inspiration in the Japanese movie of the same title:
To me, the whole poem sounds musical, especially when I read it aloud from the book and also listening to its reading by the poet aloud on youtube:
This is my interpretation of the poem:
The “complacent nest” could be a euphemism for ‘brothel house’. The “field of innocence” is something I associate with Oshin. She is an innocent prostitute because she still believes in love although she is a sex worker. She falls in love twice. She weeps because the promise of marriage with Fusanosuke has not been fulfilled. She is not “a party to purity.”
There seems to be a ‘he’, not wanting tea and ‘walking along the edge’, either Fusanosuke or maybe it is the second chance she gets when she falls in love again with Ryosuke. The word “edge” also suggests ‘risk’. Could they be the “young lovers”? There is death, someone younger dying that could refer to Ryosuke killing Kikuno’s customer.
The coming of spring suggests the lovers’ season par excellence. The beginning of love. Summer would mean this love is already ripe.
I also see the traditional man-woman roles. “The weakness of men” who are supposed to be so strong but they are weak with the pleasures of the flesh as they need prostitutes and sex, often abusing women. Luckily the rain and the storm seem to come as an opportunity for purity, for the prostitutes to clean themselves and to get rid of this life. The “lucky red silk” appears to me as the symbol for the brothel, now a “floating debris”.
The two women sit and wait on the rooftop, a symbol for an anchor where they can hold on to. “The shooting star” is hope, a wish that someone will come and rescue them from the flood, maybe the second he, Oshin’s second opportunity in life, that is, Ryosuke coming by boat.