At The Beach
Dozing on the beach I am set upon and buried in the golden sand then decorated...
It was Kid’s Adventure Day in the The Auckland Sri Chinmoy Centre and we drove two hours north to a remote, unpopulated beach. Clear pure water, large waves thumping on the shore, a long sweep of empty coastline receding away into silhouettes of far-off, pale mountains. On the horizon great columns of cumulus cloud were banked up, colossi poised to march, imperious and towering over the empty wastes of sea. Ours the only footprints in the warm sand, all trace of others swept away by night tides.
Now squeals of joy from the children as we tear off chunks of fragrant brown bread and white cheese, devour fresh mandarins brimming with sweet juices from the orchards of Kerikeri. Dozing on the beach I am set upon and buried in the golden sand then decorated – only my face visible – with starfish, seashells, sea scraps dumped by the last tide. My poor head, burning in the sun. Then someone shouted "look, look", and out there, a stones throw from the shore, the black shapes of dolphins moving in the sea. And we all rush out into the waves, wanting to befriend our new arrivals. And sad when they eventually move away.
Here at land's edge, this meeting place of earth, water, mountains, sky, we bask in the feeling of our country – nature's peaceful beauty, islands shimmering in the sea, a nostalgia too for something undefined, waiting out at the edge of memory. Rummaging now in the lunch box for some scraps of paper, wanting to scribble a poem. 'Turning blood into ink', as someone said...
Your love prised me open like a clam
opened to an oyster pearl
of giggling joy
bouncing on my poor chest
like a mad puppy
growling in my ear
tiny hands pushing flesh
into a dozen pleasing shapes
putty face stretched into a
samurai, frog and monster.
And now you deck me out
in nature's finery,
a beached, snoring Neptune
bejeweled with flotsam from the sea–
cat's eyes and kelp, pale sea lettuce
bleached herring bones and
coral shards for teeth.
Aroused from my mock sleep
I rear up, roaring
and you rush into the sanctuary of sea
shrieking from this monster you've created.
Under a warm sky
I cast off clinging robes of kelp
spit sand and guard
your playing in the tide.
Child-sweet, brief thing of flesh
I guard your playing in the sea
with my own quiet eyes