Yesterday my family and I spent an afternoon at the beach. It was the first time I’d been there this summer. This may sound ridiculous, living as close to the ocean as I do, but I protest: I’ve been writing a book.
I love the ocean, even–maybe especially–when it’s overcast and silvery, like yesterday. It’s the perfect place to rest and read in the warm sand. Or to walk and think to the rhythm of the waves. And to write poetry.
Because the whole place is poetry.
So here’s what comes of a walk along the Northern California coast on a foggy August day.
She runs down the beach,
feet kissed by
the cream-white foam,
soul blue as the gradient of waves.
She combs the beach,
not for coins or glass,
not for complete shells
or perfect rocks.
fragments battered and broken
by the relentless blue waves.
She sifts for shards of shells:
one ridged like a potato chip,
one translucent white like a nail paring,
one striated with warmth like an Arizona canyon,
one shimmering iridescent like mother-of-pearl,
her favorite a feathered infinity spiral
like the twirl of a dancer.
She hunts for rocks
smoothed by the rough-and-tumble sand—
one spotted like a leopard,
one crinkled like a brain,
a jade-green speckle.
Some are ordinary gray rocks, scarred with
straight white stripes,
or irregular embeddings of fossils.
One has a smooth indent
just the size of her fingertip.
She walks up the beach,
soul blue as the gradient of waves,
fists clutched full of
battered and tumbled and
What do you love about the ocean?