Sunday, June 08, 2014

711 : The Sum of a Beach

Sunday Whirl (Wordle #164) presents a list of words
that we must incorporate in a writing piece.  

The words this week are:

muffled, sizzle, back, language, numbers, single,
right, power, existence, stomping, hello, place


The Sum of a Beach.

At a time when existence is one of recurring waves of despair,
despair for our humanity, our planet, our future,
the beach is a place to put it all back in perspective.

You hear it before you see it,
Approaching it
Through the scrubby bush,
A gentle muffled noise,
Like cellophane scrunching,
Then silence.
Again the noise, 
Then silence.
Labouring through 
Loose dry sand
You trudge on, 
Until the scene 
Opens before you.
A broad expanse of sand,
With waves breaking along it.
Children, running to and fro,
Squealing with delight,
Racing in and out of the water,
Building sand castles
With tunnels 
And moats,
And stomping on them 
To the delight 
Or sometimes 
Dismay 
Of the budding architects.
Laughter, the common language.
Dogs, wet and excited,
Rush up to say “hello”
Then gallop off to chase
Flocks 
Of disdainful gulls,
Or balls,
Or children,
Or each other,
Running right into the waves
And galloping out again,
Dripping both salty water
And the foamy 
Slobber of excitement.
Seaweed in long strands,
Like strings of pearls,
Litter the high tide line.
Cuttlefish bones,
In numbers 
To numerous to count,
Litter the sand,
Like so many 
Abandoned surfboards.
The crazy kaleidoscope of beach life:
Hats, zinc cream, ice-cream, 
Parents in whatever shade they can find, 
The well tanned and the well cooked, 
The sizzle of the BBQs, 
The swimmers bobbing in the water, 
The surfers wobbling towards the shore, 
A single yacht, far out on the horizon, 
Appears frozen in time and space, 
But probably isn’t.

All the while
The waves,
With a understated power,
Break and retreat.
Break and retreat.
The rhythm of life.
.
---
© J Cosmo Newbery 2014
---



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43 comments:

  1. Reminds me of a holiday at Torquay.

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  2. Beautiful. Water, moving or still, is such a benison. Though for my rejuvenation I prefer rather less people about. Selfish isn't it?

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  3. Wonderful dear Cosmo, a great description of a day at the beach, with all of its colours, sounds, smells and experiences. I love the feeling of sand beneath my feet.
    xoxoxo ♡

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    1. Thank you Dianne, nice to see you again.

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  4. A very evocative poem. It is true that we hear sounds coming from the beach before we see it. And wherever we are most of the beach activities are the same.

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    1. Yes, there are common factors. And a lot can depend on who else is on the beach. For example, on an isolated beach...no, best stop there. ;-)

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    2. Is it true the shark-watch plane wiggled it's wings?

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    3. oh dear...not again..:-)
      that is the only thing I remember from your interview on PU a while back.

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    4. Glad I made an impression!

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    5. Well, Mrs Newbery made the impression, I suspect.

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  5. Such a treat - a typical holiday day at the seaside. Brought back happy memories. Thank you.

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  6. Probably the sizzle was the redhead, with no sense of time, asleep on the large towel. Perhaps her name is Barb?

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    1. Nope, the sizzle was a lamb chop, from the smell. The redhead was just roasting and smelled of coconut oil.

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  7. the gulls wouldn't be so disdainful if you had some chips :) Nice dose of summer for a winter's day.

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    1. Good point. But dogs are a notoriously poor source of chips, from a gull perspective.

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  8. the beach is forever the place for all moods, personalities, and events. Especially crowded but fun in the summer time. Great job!!!

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    1. Actually my favourite time at the beach is when it is drizzling - love walking a beach in light rain.

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  9. wonderful images building to the 'break and retreat - break and retreat' which captured the movment of both sea and life and the poem itself

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  10. Oh how this took me back scores of years to the time of trudging through the sand hills and discovering heaven once again. How beautifully you composed this piece.

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    1. Happy to take you to the beach anytime, Old Egg.

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  11. I love the walking tracks through the bush to the beach with that sound of cellophane crunching. Inspired desciptionl. The beach is the great leveller, everyone is equal on a beach..we are blessed here to still have bush to beach experience. Enjoyed this very much on a rainy afternoon.

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    1. Good. My weekend has been well spent then! :-)

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  12. I so feel going on to a beach right now!

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    1. You obviously aren't in Melbourne! (Nah. Wherever you are - go to the beach.)

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  13. You have brought the beach to life. Sorry I would have such a long distance to travel to find an ocean. But in your poem I am THERE.

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  14. I really, really, really wish I had a beach holiday planned for this year now!!! *sigh* This is just so vividly described and... I can almost feel the sand between my toes! Bravo, brilliant!

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  15. "A gentle muffled noise,
    Like cellophane scrunching,
    Then silence..."

    Exactly. It enters us before we arrive and, thankfully, stays long after we leave. I love the dogs running throughout the poem and like how you expanded the sense of spittle. I rarely get to the beach anymore, but this poem both brought me and invited me there. I agree that it might rest the mind from the horrors and even inspire it to a poetry of joy.

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  16. I could use a day at the beach..but, I like a less crowded beach
    where I can drift away to the sounds of nature..

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  17. oh that makes me wanna go to the beach....so much magic in the rhyhtm of the waves - they have such a soothing voice...

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  18. "the foamy slobber of excitement" has got to be my favorite line in this whole delightful poem!

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  19. This is really beautiful... and healing. Thanks for the reminder and bringing me to the beach in my mind... the last stanza is so, so lovely.

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  20. Nature is a great time keeper..we have our time playing in the foam and then steadily move up the beach..but that has its pleasures too..cup of tea in a nice deckchair..aah

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  21. Your poem brought back a memory of visiting the beach with my favorite dog. We had it all to ourselves and spent a delightful hour exploring to our heart's content. Then I unthinkingly threw a stick into the water. He got it, but took days to forgive me. Lake Michigan is cold, really cold except in August and it wasn't August at the time. Thank you for making me smile this morning,

    Elizabeth

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  22. I especially love the closing lines, which take me right to the beach - and the "rhythm of life".

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  23. I enjoyed this lovely description of the reputed idyllic setting . . . Beach! But your forgot sand fleas and sun burns and many hours of worrying about not getting anything done. . . . Oh and clam bakes and seafood bisque and boardwalks inundated with cheesy souvenir shops each usually disguised as "shoppe" . . . . oh and don't forget falling in love with, and kissing on the Ferris Wheel, the stranger you'll never see again! Hmmmmm . . . . .

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  24. It put me in a real holiday mood..in beach enjoying the water...but reality is school started:((
    vacation time over..back to the grind..but thanks for taking me there at least for a while:)

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  25. It is finally getting warm enough here for the beach. After reading this, I think I'll go.

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  26. Break and retreat.
    The rhythm of life.
    .
    Classic ending Cosmo! It sums up all of life's abundance extended here Brilliant shot!

    Hank

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