Two poems from "The Great Year"

Age of Pisces
(c. 100 B.C.-2000 A.D.)

Fish surrounded me
when I was a child,
even my mother's arms felt
wet and cold; I could taste
salt on my lips
and lay with eyes closed
and knew the world
was an alien place.
I was surrounded by fish
all of them with
faces resembling
mother, father,
wife, mother-in-law,
they were sharks, piranha,
salmon, cod, pickerel;
they swam
upstream in my veins
finding a pool of warm
liquid in my heart
where they flung themselves
what heartache they caused!
At night I prayed
to God, as though this life
would never end,
my prayers were
the sound of water running
in a river until
giant boulders
are worn smooth. Soon
I, too, went to sea
and became a fisherman;
in my small cabin
cluttered with books,
a copy of the Vinland
Map spread across
my desk, and over my bed
was an icon of Christ
in whose arms
I rested; His eyes
followed me
as I moved from one
corner of my cabin
to the next, sometimes
His lips moved
shaping something
resembling a smile,
and I could hear Him
speak, in ancient Aramaic,
words I could not
I threw sardines
to a school
of dolphins
that swam beside
my ship, then
caressed their sides,
their eyes filled
with compassion.
The sea
is a cathedral
whose ceiling
is the stars
and whose floor
the blue water--
sun or moon reflected
it is a mosaic
of silver tiles,
the kind seen
in Roman palaces,
dolphins frozen
in the ceramic waves.

Age of Aquarius
(c. 2000-4000 A.D.)

the world felt itself
at the beginning
of a great change
—W.B. Yeats

Odysseus took out
Cyclopes' single eye
and for his deed
betrayed himself to louts
and thugs,
ten years in exile and travail.
Is this the dawning
of the Age of Aquarius?
We know the future
less well than ourselves,
ourselves hardly at all.
Like Odysseus we search for home:
waking on board ship to waves
slapping the bow and stern;
moonlight is silver
across foreign waters'
surface. Written on the ship
or starship
the name "Aquarius".
We think of brave Odysseus then
and know the sea,
know the stars and space
calling us with celestial music,
sounds we hear
late at night, when
darkness enfolds us in mystery.
In each port the gurus and gods
have gone, no more Christs
or Buddhas, only fanatics,
eyes on fire with millennial fever.
Still, wherever a harbour or farm
exists we find a home--
this awakens nostalgia
for the homes we had,
exiles and outsiders
on the earth.
Our world is ancient
as giant turtles
or redwood trees,
where electric current
is the new river of life and blood,
making the earth one port,
one living being
in cosmic outer space.

("The Age of Pisces" and "The Age of Aquarius" from "The Great Year")

Read the complete "Great Year" poems at