Poetry Shelf Monday Poem: Michaela Keeble’s ‘the ocean’


the ocean



the ocean faces us


he stands

with his back to us


he’s not interested

he’s interested

only in his own




he watches his belly

begin to swell


he wonders

what will come of it


he cradles the feeling

and controls it


he’s not interested in us

perhaps he is interested


in our children


we step back



we feel his rash



we track his fish



we test

his acid reflux


we ask


is this sickness

or birth


it’s impossible to know

how he will handle this



i have no right

to call him by his name


but i can’t pretend

he doesn’t exist


i’m scared of him

i’m scared for him


i can’t conceive

of the harm we plan


and still we must think

about our children


we have to show them

how to greet him


even if it looks

like nursery rhyme


even if we don’t know

how to pray


even if we don’t know

how to change


Michaela Keeble




Michaela Keeble is an Australian writer living in Aotearoa with her partner and kids. For a living she writes about climate change but her poems (still evidence-based) are published fairly widely, including in Pantograph Punch, Westerly, Plumwood Mountain, Southerly, Not Very Quiet, Cicerone and Mimicry. She’s currently taking part in a climate science+art collaboration facilitated by TrackZero and spends a lot of time making books with a coven of women poets who live mainly in Porirua.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s