Friday, January 16, 2015

A Walk on the Beach

This poem was chosen for a Rhode Island Sea Grant publication in the 1980s. Poetry isn't my forte, but I thought I'd share this one. On a January day, with so many places in the nation frigid and snowy, it might serve to warm you.

Imagine a walk on the beach in Rhode Island, near Misquamicut and Watch Hill Lighthouse....

Osprey nests, like organized piles of Ninigret sticks

   are a haven among the sea oats whose pronounced and

   intoxicated sway sets me to dreaming at dawn;

Brown sugar sand, finely ground in the great ocean pestle,

   compresses beneath my feet, where granite dragons,

   with sharp gray teeth, sprawl just below the tideline.


Sunrise, shimmering on the Sound in amoebic, ruddy patches,

    makes little tangerine shadows in my footprints

    meandering along the morning beach at Misquamicut;

As the early mists from Hobomock’s pipe are lifted,

    modestly as a bride lifts her diaphanous veil,

    moonbeams die away, and jellies open like tiny, briny umbrellas.


A lighthouse—old solider who refuses to give up his watch—

    gazes toward the distant pregnant sails

    tickling the horizon and the Isle of Manisses,

While a cacophony of buoys and gulls guffaws

    at the beach cottages shamelessly showing off their legs

    and arthritic fishing boats that creak and groan and sigh.

In the backwaters and tide-rush, behind breakwaters and seawalls

    —daybreak-blushed stone fences old Neptune didn’t build—

     upending mute swans go in search of seaweed salads;

A submarine drifts silently offshore, like a great whale

     sunning its back; and I am reminded that I too must go about

     the business of the day, ever more renewed to have begun this way.

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