I grew up inside a heritage of oceans,
flanked by National seashores and Marconi’s towers;
I tromped through marsh and forest to water, running full-tilt (no fear),
toward the largest of childhood tropes.
Some beaches have eroded now, the towers have all come down –
Indeed, that’s how we often think of land and sea.
The sun and moon conspire so the wind will pull the water
the water scrapes the soil, salty rain reclaims the hills.
New towers will rise, some built to spin wind,
they, too, will fall
their concrete plinths
turning to sand.
A contented heart – a nesting bird – stayed close to the sea,
making her way down a long coast,
encountering an ever-changing shoreline.
Weathered with wings small and steely
were winters and springs,
be they bitter or bold;
catching shifts in the wind,
shielding the brood,
and gliding toward flocks familiar.
With pine needles, bits of white birch
and feathers pulled from her back,
she quietly built a home;
and resting where the sand meets the water.
Unpredictable and endless,
steady and rolling:
so are the waves in which we whirl
in crests and swells,
and often, storm.
The rudderless many fight the tides,
searching for beacons among juts and jags
and these aimless vessels, I know them well
I know the swims of struggle
but a current has pushed me
from an ocean too vast
into a familiar sea.
And at once, I am buoyed.
I float, I breathe
I am home.
- c) 2007
This trio of poems spans 15 years of writing, and centers on the common theme of living by the ocean. The first and most recent poem, written in 2018, is a reflection on changing landscapes, both natural and man-made. The second was written in 2013 in celebration of Carole Dunbar, a life-long Cape Cod resident who passed away that year. The third poem uses the ocean’s waves as a metaphor for life’s ups and downs, whether literal or figurative. Jaclyn C. Stevenson