On the Shore (Poem)

Since I’m in a slightly reckless mood this week, I’ve decided to do more sharing of my poetry on this blog, possibly the start of a weekly feature. Some of my poems are lighthearted and silly, some are a little dark. This one, written a few summers back, falls somewhere in the middle: appreciating and being touched by the joy seen in others’ lives, while still feeling a bit wistful about it. We’re only human, after all.

ON THE SHORE

I stand on the shore in my solitary state
and across the water watch them:
distant figures on the far shore,
figures of mirth and peace.
The distance obscures,
but in my mind’s eye I see them as clear
as if I was in their happy company.
An old man, silver hair glinting,
stands, rough elbows bent,
feet in the sand,
in the dark sand at water’s edge
where a blonde child in red
builds towers to the sky:
beautiful misshapen castles
lumpy, bumpy, dripped mud and shell,
bringing beauty to ugliness
as only a child can.
She raises innocent eyes to smile at him;
two generations removed,
she is his own,
his future, his love made new.

I watch,
and am blessed in watching,
though I hurt:
for what have I been spared
that I am left lonely,
left outside the lives of others
touching corners only,
a circling satellite
adrift in the night sky?
Times there are when I wonder if,
should I be taken, now or time far off,
will there be any to mourn?
What mark have I left, and who
would mark my passing?
My going would be
like the drop of a pebble in these waters,
ripples observed, but scarce noted
before the calm waters smooth over again.

There are no castles on the shore for me,
no child of tomorrow.
Though perhaps it matters not in the vast world that is to come,
in this world, for this I grieve.

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