Beach Walk

A harbor of round stones,
the hoods of crabs bright as sunset,
the color of flayed salmon flesh,
left in the sunlight where gulls have feasted
and gone,
green-white wands of sea oats arching fruit through wreckage,
alive in the yardage of cable rusting into knot and honeycomb,
seaweeds, the bone-wrack of fish, dried into a twisted language,
displayed with shell, small stone, chips of fraying wood
and yet nothing seems ever to happen; the beach is always
discovered with a quiet litter of events, enormous,
multiple, seemingly brief, always in the past.

To think that all this has occurred
in our lifetimes, yours and mine, in a series of days,
unnoticed before our eyes as we stared at each other, wary
of the past, careful of our futures,
focused by a human love,
our small hem of the tide. . . .

It is difficult to tell ourselves that we live as we live;
we need these sun-stretched days that harbor
us while we drift over our own evidence,
learning we are grateful, awe-filled, knowing we’ve been touched
by a finger of the wet wind and halted,
breathing with its whistle in the shell-like place
of our having lived together.

      --Richard Ronan
      from A Radiance Like Wind or Water
    (Port Townsend:  Dragon Gate Press, Inc., 1982)