Monday, June 06, 2005

Poem: Boyhood Beach

Back on my boyhood beach
Where I had so many games and adventures
Among the rock pools
The breakwaters and
the rippled sands
Like the ribs of the sea
Exposed to the bright light
By the capricious tide

And as I walked towards the orange sun sinking
Behind the ironwork tracery of the old pier
Etched in Indian ink
A horse and rider galloped past
And two Canada geese
Flew overhead
One slightly in front of the other
Honking and beating the air
With their strong feathery wings
In unison

And I remembered
Thirty years ago
A sense of freedom
And tasted it once more

The seabirds were assembling
In the rock pool shadows
Calling out to each other with their lonely cries that had
Always touched my heart

And I remembered how
In my adolescent energy
I had read The Outsider
And full of that book’s inspiration
Had gone down to the pebbly foreshore
As a storm raged and crashed around me
And how I yelled at fate
At the top of lungs
With tears rolling down my cheeks
Because I had discovered such a big WANT
And a NEED inside me
That I had to cry out or burst

And many years later
After watching a double bill
Jack Nicholson's Last Detail
And De Niro's Taxi Driver
In one delirious Odeon session
Keeping company with a few old pensioners
During which the projector caught fire – literally
I walked home along the sands
With the sun on my back
Hepped up with emotions I could not articulate
Jubilant and fearful

The beach is still there
Along with its bait diggers and fishermen
Children laughing in the waves
A young Alsatian chasing a red rubber ball
And I’m striding on
Rucksack on my back
Miniature camera in hand
Still dreaming my dreams
On my boyhood beach

[Undated/3rd draft]

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