" SpiritofSaltSpring:BC:Canada:GulfIslands:SaltSpring:Salt Spring:

July 23, 2008

Poetry in remission

Quite a long time ago now, I was on Hornby Island near Tribune Bay camping with my friend Neil. In honour of summer, I'll tell this story here.

It was late in the afternoon and he had gone up to the campsite. It was one of those types of campsites that I really despise and would never knowingly choose but there isn't much choice on Hornby. People have cottages. They rent cottages. The unwashed masses tent.

People were everywhere and the sites extremely close together with the arrangements practically replicating a high-density Mountain Equipment Co-op slum.

In an attempt to avoid that reality perhaps, I remained on the beach. It was hot and I was watching everyone: families, children, teenagers and it was as if I began to see the entire human life cycle unfolding before my eyes, but ghostly images,as if projected onto the real people.

As I was watching the families gather up their endless amounts of beach stuff-almost as if the seaweed had transformed into plastic and coolers and flippers and chairs on the one side of me - with the teenagers hovering around each other tentatively and nervously on the other, this poem came to me very quickly.

It wasn't exactly in this form but when I got home a few days later, I worked on it and I continued to change it until I got to something similar to this.

It's rare for me to write poetry these days which is too bad because I really like the process. But, it has been a very long time since I have been inspired enough, or depressed enough, or have felt so aware in the present moment to create something like this.

The whole process of writing a poem amazes me. An image sparks the desire to capture an emotion and from that the experience materializes into words that when combined form a new, separate, unique entity. Like giving birth. Voila!

The Sleepwalkers

After the float plane
circles and lands in Tribune Bay
to deposit the pilot on a sailboat,
and the comments about how the other half live, subside,
the sleepwalkers leave the beach,
forgetting to shirk their 9-5 routines.

Mothers hug wet children dry
dabbing at them with tender beach towel buffs.

Splashing shrieks of little boys
fade into their father's voices calling out to them.

Coolers click, open and shut.

Beach umbrellas collapse.

Deck chairs fold under arms.

Pink, plastic floating devices
complete this balancing act.

Silent parade of life
warning teenaged girls
with tulip-bud breasts
that time will overcome their prancing,
even though boys in boxer shorts
with wheat-bleached crew cuts
now follow them, silently,
Not actually having much fun,
except, in their fertile imaginations.

Stalking possibilities about what it really feels like inside.

Wondering how it will ever be possible
to cross the distance stretched between them now,
as if navigating these sandbars will lead them
to the warm entrance between thighs

the same way the ocean

fills the holes in the rocks

at high tide.

1 comment:

Ben Anderson said...

I love the sand castles, and the poem as well.