Poem: Knowing Less. Knowing More

Poem: Knowing Less. Knowing More

The sun has gone over the island.
The sand darkens.
The last of the color slips from the sky.
Orange. Violet. Indigo.

The crowds have gone home
or to their garish restaurants.
It is you and the crabs popping their head
from the still warm sand.

It is your time. The off season.
The empty time when your emotions are free
to play and dance and sing paens of lost heroes,
imagining yourself one,

an unseen hero, perhaps only of your own story.
Content to be seen from a distance
on the day after solstice,
dark a few moments earlier,
so subtle you may not notice.

Such are the battles you fight.
Unseen. Subtle. On the other side of the island
from the sun. Strangely content in your aloneness.
Comfortable, finally, in yourself.

The wind comes in off the sea. Salty. Cool.
An off-season wind, bereft of the Gulf Stream.
You have lived in the off-season most of your life
and came prepared, your long-sleeved Henley
waffled and warm.
A stocking cap hangs out of your pocket,
ready for the cool darkness
And its pantheon of stars.

You listen to the waves. Soft tonight. Gentle.
You wonder at yourself. Wonder why
it took so many years to become what you are,
why so often, since a child, you sought approval
from those who did not have it to give, those
who could not be honest about their own needs,
leaving you to learn that honesty
by failure and pain, by brokeness
and long years of looking in mirrors,
a mad funhouse of a mind, prying yourself apart
and then, with a few less pieces,
making something both new and traditional
out of what was left. Feeling free finally

to toss some away, burn them like old love letters,
and to color some of those left with new paint,
never sure when you started, what art would emerge
and whether you would know the new child
born of the work.

You wonder, but the answers are less important now
than they once were. Contentment changes things.
There is less need to understand the whys,
even as your wisdom allows for that understanding.
You are more childlike now. A strange innocence
for life lived as you have lived yours.

The last colors drift over the island.
You are in the dark, the sand between your toes
turning cool.
Above is the Milky Way, a beautiful mystery,
silent as your soul, with the same pockmarks of light.

About this poem

This poem started out almost as a shorting. Four lines. But there was something unfinished in it. Time and time again it was almost finished, but not quite.

Not unlike life.

I am not sure it is finished yet.

Tom

PS: The picture was taken at Marconi Beach on Cape Cod.

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