Estuary Heaven by Stephen Mead


Stephen Mead is an Outsider multi-media artist and writer. Since the 1990s he’s been grateful to many editors for publishing his work in print zines and eventually online.  He is also grateful to have managed to keep various day jobs for the Health Insurance.  

Poetry on the Line, Stephen Mead




Estuary Heaven


Is there something familiar about the utterly foreign?


Come, skim depths, fecund deposits.

Snails are pearls.  Algae is lace.

Diamond droplets dapple pond scum.


Why do you recoil?

Such vivid shimmering is pleasant.


Our water is sludge thick, ram stubborn, cannot be budged.

Here’s sediments, an entire millennium’s, consolidated.


Yes, isn’t the mud lovely?


Festoons shape lagoons of the usual flora & fauna.

Sedge climbs amid salt marsh, & eelgrass meets sea grass

in a dance of migration.  Heron, even Sandhill Cranes,

a whole avian nation wings its way through every spring.

Then the summer’s a resort. Its fertilization is uncanny.


Though industry finds us dwindling, picked off

shore birds born defected, strange, we’re still the first

frontier off the land spit, the back bay…

Our movement is an effulgence.

It constantly thrusts, windrows of foam sifting on…


Later, a mat, they spread opaque emerald.

Such dank sanctuaries house an odd sort of calm.


Ah, but what of beauty, the pristine?

Think of a river raging quiet, the dense holiness of forests.

Next to such, we’re ducklings plain, or worse, something gross.


The halted basalt of old lava is dredged deathly fetid,

but the past offers glory, & we are its hint…


Observe closely. Stay awhile.

What we deliver is patience to the most tired of souls.

Find a log.  Rest.  Later you’ll have an inkling

if not completely understand whatever fed the temptation.


Then you will wonder how you could possibly leave.

Stephen Mead