At first the brash symphony
of roaring surf and squawking gulls
of salt water and stinging sand
overpowered the old man’s senses.
He sat on the beach with his morning coffee
trying to comprehend the feelings
feelings of grandeur and insignificance
of freedom and permanence
and of some unfathomable connection.
Later he watched the bronzed young people
laughing and playing under the midday sun.
He felt the old draw of warm bodies
of beckoning flesh
stir within him once again
so he lingered awhile
indulging his fantasies
of love and loss
of power and revenge
of young men’s games.
But soon he tired of their endless competitions
the chest puffing, braggadocio
Out along the periphery of the beach
there were others who read and walked
going quietly about their day.
They did not collect the most shells
or win the games
or pair off with perfect others.
Occasionally one would walk to the ocean’s border
and stare mesmerized into the misty sea
out beyond the breaking surf.
He would have laughed with scorn once
but now he felt a curious kinship.
In the evening he rose from his chair
and walked to the water’s edge.
The taste of salt
The undulating waves
The smell of something ancient
Over and over
It drew him in
He swam out beyond the breakers
beyond the sturm und drang of surf and sand
of bare skin and the need to be noticed.
The waves that crashed loudly onto the beach
passed quietly beneath him here,
no longer fixating him with their power.
He swam toward the setting sun
into deeper waters.
Looking back just once
he could no longer see the shore.