Poem: Stones on the Beach


Stones on the Beach

Stones pock the landscape
like so many corpses,
dried up, their color and shine evaporated,
victims of the night.

You shiver, aware
how long your life has reflected this same scene,
a battlefield of near dead things,
a beach to be navagated rather than walked.

Eyes down, you cross it, carefully.
perhaps it would be easier to turn back
and walk in the familiar sands free of broken things.
But history has taught you the survivors live on the battlefield

not in the calm eddies.

Looking, you find them,
small gasping shellfish, drying in the afternoon sun,
writhing as you pick them up and toss them back into the sea.
Would they love you for this? Would they hate you.

You do not know.
You only know your own story,
one of being tossed to the shore and returned to the sea,
again and again,

and it seems a reasonable expectation that a few
of these small creatures, left to die,
will flourish, glad to return to the sea for an opportunity
for find their safe haven,

and live again. Even as they curse me
for returning them to the struggle of the sea.

About this poem

The picture was taken in Brewster, Mass, on Cape Code. I felt a strange kinship with this spot, and could not say why, until today.


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