The Last Fingers of Leaf--Acrostic Poem
Tell me, do waves tickle the land when their
Heavy froth splatters on the sands, dissipating
Energy as they wash the shore, dissolve, subside?
Wavy lines of seaweed, traces my fingers carve
In the golden sand, curves in the silhouettes of posing gulls—
Now Phoebus smiles on skin, where are my night thoughts?
Dancing surfers court the ocean, miniature Poseidons on
Chariots driven by spumy steeds, soaring, sinking—
Rocks melt before water here, asking me silently,
“O fellow mortal, what are you? Your world?”
Susurration of unsubdued power, song of the ceaseless
Sea, pulse in my veins—gliding birds
Echoing my free-flying thoughts—pilgrim on the
The West is the direction of water, cleansing the
Heart, yes, and dissolving all things, each and
Every, self-knowledge and letting go.
Black wetsuits briefly shield young bodies from the cold,
Racing the tide and that ultimate dissolution—
Orgulous, fearful, exhilarated by turns they
Wind among the shifting waters,
Now in the hour of their lovemaking.
Lightchild, I knew from the beginning that
All these words were about us,
Near or far and journeying apart,
Dreamers, dancers, surfers of the heart.
Undulate, shifting forms, sand hillocks collapsing,
Next, I suppose, the sand castle will
Hurl itself into my imaginings,
Ever taunting as it rejoins the waters—
All is change, no form abides.
Right it is for our beach architecture to fade;
Do I have the courage to be a castle?
Montara State Beach
August 20, 2002
The river’s tent is broken: the last fingers of leaf
Clutch and sink into the wet bank. The wind
Crosses the brown land, unheard. The nymphs are departed.
(Opening lines of “The Fire Sermon,” part III of The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot)