Ocean Beach



You give and you take away:

Polished stones, broken baby shells,

Jellyfish and bits of crab,

Come November the remains of sand dollars,

A carcass, sometimes, of a sea lion

Or whale,

Drift wood and concrete

(Part of a house or pier?);

It all comes and goes.

You give joy rides to surfers,

But pull the unsuspecting, unprepared,

Innocent, naive or daring

Off the continental shelf

Into the vastness.

Loved ones lay flowers and altars,

But you take those, too, in time.

You give us a place to see the horizon

Without anything in the way

Except perhaps a container ship

Or our egos.

You remind us that infinity

Created the grains of sand

That cling to our shoes

And follow us back to our safe homes,

Where our carpets curse your memory

Until we get our vacuums out.

But when it’s time to give our dogs a good run,

We embrace you once again.

We come and go.

You give and you take away.


Anne Nygren Doherty 2020