By Carl L. Bankston III

Time out from opinionating for a little poetastery:

He asserted water to be the principle of all things…
– Diogenes Laertius, “Life of Thales” (tr. C.D. Yonge)

From the liquidity of accidents,
possibilities become events
that surge and crest in a necessary end
in definition, where they begin again.

The waves reform and roll back to the sea
to lose themselves in that green mystery
in which the forms perform a constant dance
of the movements of necessity and chance.

The surface stretches away from where I stand
and curves around to another end of land
where, by rule of chance, you might now be,
or by law of hidden necessity.

The figures that dance across the water’s face
before us rise up from an unseen place
beneath the separations, beyond our sight
and leap for just a moment in the light.

I think they are the same figures, both here
and there, and that they appear and disappear
to you and me and join us in an instant
that waves away the thoughts of near and distant.

Distinct mythologies dissolve in sea,
as do the spaces between you and me,
so that the chances dividing us are only
undulations of necessity.


Moral Liberal Sociology Editor, Carl L. Bankston III is Professor of Sociology at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA.  He is the author and co-author of a number of books and numerous articles published in academic journals. An incomplete list of his books includes: Growing Up American: How Vietnamese Children Adapt to Life in the United States (with Min Zhou, 1998), Blue Collar Bayou: Louisiana Cajuns in the New Economy of Ethnicity (with Jacques Henry, 2002), and A Troubled Dream: The Promise and Failure of School Desegregation in Louisiana (2002), Forced to Fail: The Paradox of School Desegregation (hardback, 2005; paperback, 2007), and Public Education – America’s Civil Religion: A Social History (2009) (all with Stephen J. Caldas). View Professor Bankston’s full bio, here.  He blogs at Can These Bones Live?