A classic cliché of longing,
the sea and the shore,
always reaching, never
reached. Always almost.

So it is that longing is
so deep, even the word
hasn’t changed for centuries.

Yet, the sea and its sand
says little to a denizen
of the hills like me. Maybe

the snows of yesteryear?
Like the longing of the sea,
it’s been done—

it’s been said,
it’s been felt,
it’s as real in
this moment as any,
the endless interplay
of an organism and
the hard surfaces
we face down.

I open the curtains
and see the body
of a blue tail fly,
twisted in failure—
killed by its longing
to be elsewhere.

Why can’t we find
a container for longing?

The sea? The snow? Long
hours on the wrong side of
an incomprehensible wall?

I listen for wisdom
in the silence of
the blue tail fly.


Rev. David Breeden, PhD is Senior Minister at First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, a historically Humanist congregation. He has a Master of Fine Arts in poetry from The Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a PhD from the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi.