Thursday, May 26, 2011

Smells Like Low Tide...In a Good Way

We're studying poetry from the English Romantic period. Naturally, this involved writing our own Romantic poems. They were supposed to be about beauty and nature and just generally everything fluffy and nice. We were supposed to think of a place in nature that meant something to us. I did this, but my poem ran away with me (you know how poems can be), and mine wound up being more about my grandfather than the place I'd started with.

We have a mobile home at the beach, and that was always one of the places where he was the happiest, I think. He and I used to go clamming. We would pick our way through the marsh/wetland area behind the mobile home park to where we knew the clams were the easiest to find, hauling our bucket, one of those metal things for measuring the clams, a couple of rakes, and a pair of disgusting black gloves that were about ten sizes to big for me. I usually wore the nearest shoes on hand, whether they were my own water shoes or a pair of someone's old sneakers almost as gross as the gloves. I never cared what I looked like. Out in that marsh with my grandpa, I was--if you'll forgive me for this because I don't feel like I can miss this one--as happy as a clam.

Usually his stamina outlasted mine, and I was the one who was done while he kept saying, "One more; just one more." Eventually that changed, though, and I distinctly remember one instance when I was the one begging, "One more!" He wiped his brow and made that face he always made when he was flustered and I could tell he'd have stayed out there with me until the sun went down and came back up again in the morning. The tide was coming in, though, and if we wanted to actually eat the clams, we had to be back in time for dinner. I surrendered and back we went.

Back at the mobile home, we washed and--as was the custom, for he was a dutiful keeper of records--counted them. Thirty-nine. Thirty-nine. It was a very long time before he stopped hearing about that from me.

And now this post has run off with me much in the same manner as my poem did earlier today. So, without further ado, here is my little sentimental aberration (for this is truly a deviation from my cynicism I'm sure you've all come to know and love):


I remember the mud
That swallowed my shoe,
The bucket, the rake,
And I remember you.

The grass a brilliant green
And the water just as blue
Twenty times “Just one more!”
But that’s what we’d do.

The breeze lifts my wet hair
And it clings to my shoulder.
I try to pretend
That I’m not getting older.

The grass is still here
To dance with the breeze,
And a thousand fish dance
In a thousand blue seas.

But you aren’t here, Papa,
Not where you should be.
And now I’ve got no one
To dance here with me.

I remember
The sun on my skin,
And the water that rose
As the tide came back in

I know when I’m here,
I’m not truly alone,
But as the sun sets,
I walk back on my own.

1 comment:

  1. oh my freakin goodness raz!
    i started crying! that is the sweetest poem i have ever read!