Saturday, 22 July 2017

A poem for the summer you were 12...

I post this poem each summer. For me it's salt water, Cape Cod, and that tenuous moment when the world becomes something new and unexpected the summer you turned 12. Enjoy!

Then that summer, Daniel

But for the dunes
and the tides,
and the changing marsh grass,
whipping out past the point
holding its breath on the turn,

we caught the biggest crab
with blue claws,
in our painted bucket,
and dragged it back to the 
community of ice chests and beach chairs,

conquered, stalk eyes waving,
one giant claw testing the air.

Flotsam in the river tide,
goggled like invaders,
we flippered as far as the marsh
held sea beneath us.
All that separateness kept to itself,
until beached, we scattered fiddlers fleeing
before us on the muddy flats.

One fitful gray day, we scale the cliffs
and wander the halls of the ancient hotel,
careful of the maids and billowing curtains.
As king and queen, holding innocent hands 
we waltz down the grand ballroom stairs.
Your boy heart finds a secret bell tower and widow’s walk, 
and we spend a guiltless afternoon, ageless, 
looking out to sea.

Then that summer, Daniel.
He and his shark fin
take the beach by storm,
mayhem in shorts and sunglasses.
We laugh in the dunes until
the tide turns again, and
spiraling stars humming in the sky
make us older by a day, 
and curious, and shy.

First published in the Adirondack review


Maaja said...

I enjoyed this one. Thanks for finding me on Twitter. It's always good to meet another Toronto writer.

Philippa Dowding said...

Hi Maaja - glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for dropping by the blog. It IS always great to hear from other writers!

Anonymous said...

Simply lovely, P. Thanks for posting.

I thought the photo looked like Sandbanks, where we were last weekend.


Philippa Dowding said...

Thanks for dropping by Monica, glad you liked the poem. It's actually a photo of a tidal stream in Cape Cod, but it does look very Sand Banks, which is a lovely spot!