I wait for the holiday crowd to clear the beach
before stepping onto the first wave.
Soon I am walking across the Atlantic
thinking about Spain,
checking for whales, waterspouts.
I feel the water holding up my shifting weight.
Tonight I will sleep on its rocking surface.
But for now I try to imagine what
this must look like to the fish below,
the bottoms of my feet appearing, disappearing.
I thought of you and how you love this beauty,
And walking up the long beach all alone
I heard the waves breaking in measured thunder
As you and I once heard their monotone.
Around me were the echoing dunes, beyond me
The cold and sparkling silver of the sea --
We two will pass through death and ages lengthen
Before you hear that sound again with me.
My Garden -- like the Beach --
Denotes there be -- a Sea --
That's Summer --
Such as These -- the Pearls
She fetches -- such as Me
Among rocks, I am the loose one,
among aarows, I am the heart,
among daughters, I am the recluse,
among sons, the one who dies young.
Among answers, I am the question,
between lovers, I am the sword,
among scars, I am the fresh wound,
among confetti, the black flag.
Among shoes, I am the onw with the pebble,
among days, the one that never comes,
among the bones you find on the beach
the one that sings was mine.
I WILL take an egg out of the robin’s nest in the orchard,
I will take a branch of gooseberries from the old bush in the garden, and go and preach to
You shall see I will not meet a single heretic or scorner,
You shall see how I stump clergymen, and confound them,
You shall see me showing a scarlet tomato, and a white pebble from the beach.
Wind whines and whines the shingle,
The crazy pierstakes groan;
A senile sea numbers each single
From whining wind and colder
Grey sea I wrap him warm
And touch his trembling fineboned shoulder
And boyish arm.
Around us fear, descending
Darkness of fear above
And in my heart how deep unending
Ache of love!
I close my eyes
and there it is
a concrete walkway
leading out of a
hugging the sides
of a green green
tree filled mountainside
and to the right
a pipe railing
paited the color
of oxidized metaland even firther
to my right
a small beach
all under a pale blue sky
all there when my eyelids
close and the shutters open
RINGS of iron gray smoke; a woman’s steel face … looking … looking.
Funnels of an ocean liner negotiating a fog night; pouring a taffy mass down the wind; layers of soot on the top deck; a taffrail … and a woman’s steel face … looking … looking.
Cliffs challenge humped; sudden arcs form on a gull’s wing in the storm’s vortex; miles of white horses plow through a stony beach; stars, clear sky, and everywhere free climbers calling; and a woman’s steel face … looking … looking …
Louder than gulls the little children scream
Whom fathers haul into the jovial foam;
But others fearlessly rush in, breast high,
Laughing the salty water from their mouthes--
Heroes of the nursery.
The horny boatman, who has seen whales
And flying fishes, who has sailed as far
As Demerara and the Ivory Coast,
Will warn them, when they crowd to hear his tales,
That every ocean smells of tar.
OLD Euclid drew a circle
On a sand-beach long ago.
He bounded and enclosed it
With angles thus and so.
His set of solemn greybeards
Nodded and argued much
Of arc and circumference,
Diameter and such.
A silent child stood by them
From morning until noon
Because they drew such charming
Round pictures of the moon.
She has no need to fear the fall
Of harvest from the laddered reach
Of orchards, nor the tide gone ebbing
From the steep beach.
Nor hold to pain's effrontery
Her body's bulwark, stern and savage,
Nor be a glass, where to forsee
What she has gathered, and what lost,
She will not find to lose again.
She is possessed by time, who once
Was loved by men.
Edna St Vincent Millay
No matter what I say,
All that I really love
Is the rain that flattens on the bay,
And the eel-grass in the cove;
The jingle-shells that lie and bleach
At the tide-line, and the trace
Of higher tides along the beach:
Nothing in this place.
THE shadows of the ships
Rock on the crest
In the low blue lustre
Of the tardy and the soft inrolling tide.
A long brown bar at the dip of the sky
Puts an arm of sand in the span of salt.
The lucid and endless wrinkles
Draw in, lapse and withdraw.
Wavelets crumble and white spent bubbles
Wash on the floor of the beach.
Rocking on the crest
In the low blue lustre
Are the shadows of the ships.
Paul Laurence Dunbar
'T is better to sit here beside the sea,
Here on the spray-kissed beach,
In silence, that between such friends as we
Is full of deepest speech.
David Herbert Lawrence
People were bathing and posturing themselves on the beach,
and all was dreary, great robot limbs, robot breasts,
robot voices, robot even the gay umbrellas.
But a woman, shy and alone, was washing herself under a tap and the glimmer of the presence of the gods was like
lilies, and like water-lilies.
Last summer, in the blue heat,
Over the beach, in the burning air,
A legless beggar lurched on calloused fists
To where I waited with the sun-dazed birds.
He said, "The summer boils away.
Joins to another life; this parched skin
Dries and dies and flakes away,
Becomes your costume when the torn leaves blow.
--Thus in the losing autumn,
Over the streets, I now lurch
Legless to your side and speak your name
Under a gray sky ripped apart
By thunder and the changing wind.
A dead starfish on a beach
He has five branches
Representing the five senses
Representing the jokes we did not tell each other
Call the earth flat
Call other people human
But let this creature lie
Flat upon our senses
Like a love
Prefigured in the sea
And went to water
All the oceans
All the oceans of emotion
are full of such ffish
Is this dead one of such importance?
Thomas Edward Brown
To-night I saw three maidens on the beach,
Dark-robed descending to the sea,
So slow, so silent of all speech,
And visible to me
Only by that strange drift-light, dim, forlorn,
Of the sun's wreck and clashing surges born.
Each after other went,
And they were gathered to his breast--
It seemed to me a sacrament
Of some stern creed unblest:
As when to rocks, that cheerless girt the bay,
They bound thy holy limbs, Andromeda.
Paul Laurence Dunbar
(Lines on reading "Driftwood.")
Driftwood gathered here and there
Along the beach of time;
Now and then a chip of truth
'Mid boards and boughs of rhyme;
Driftwood gathered day by day,—
The cypress and the oak,—
Twigs that in some former time
From sturdy home trees broke.
Did this wood come floating thick
All along down "Injin Crik?"
Or did kind tides bring it thee
From the past's receding sea
Down the stream of memory?