There’s a sad nip in the air this morning, a reminder to get the rest of my summer beach posts up before they’re as out-of-date as puka shells and jellies.
I count myself among the most fortunate of souls that I got to return to Maryland this summer to spend a week at the beach with my family. There’s much to love–blue crabs, Fractured Prune doughnuts, steak-and-cheese subs, the stifling, warms-the-soul humidity inescapable on the Delmarva peninsula. And of course the accent. A week gives me just enough time to re-claim it. Unfortunately by the time I hit the Ohio Turnpike on my way back to Michigan I’ve already lost it. So I’ve titled this post to honor the beautiful way Marylanders speak the English language. (If you’ve never had the pleasure of hearing it, link here to enjoy how we say “o’s” and here for an exaggerated version of common Maryland expressions.)
On with post. I had snippets of poems–by that I mean I snipped a few lines out of longer poems–that referenced the ocean, and I put them all over Bethany Beach one afternoon while on a boardwalk outing with a few nieces and a nephew.
I left the opening lines of “Here With Your Memory” by Alejandro Murguía on a fence post next to some mismatched beach shoes.
The brooding, windy weather was just right for this one:
(The poem is not on line and is too long for me to type out, at least at this moment. If I feel less lazy when I finish this post, I’ll type it out at the bottom.)
I gave my nieces, Sophia and Georgie, a single line from Keats’ “Endymion” to hold because the wind was blowing everything this way and that, and because they are beauties, even though Sophia is uncharacteristically scowling.
These two have since returned to Ecuador with a piece of my heart. (A good time to welcome to my sister Josie’s Ecuadorian students. Hello to all and thanks for reading Poem Elf! Good luck this year.)
The joy beauty gives may be forever, but beauty itself is ephemeral, so I asked Sophia to let the piece of paper blow away. See it in the bottom right of the photo.
Still, I have faith in Keats’ words that follow this line–“it will never pass/into nothingness.” You can see the paper, just above the dune grass in the dead center of the picture, on its way to places unknown.
You can read the complete poem here.
On a storage shed for umbrella rentals I left a famous bit from Yeats’ “The Second Coming”:
It’s a poem that always seems horribly relevant, but perhaps never as much as in these times.
Link to the complete poem here.
And finally, at our favorite store, the ubiquitous Candy Kitchen, I left “A Modest Love” by Elizabethan poet Sir Edward Dyer. My sister Susie, long-time president of the Candy Club, sits surrounded by this bunch of beggars. The poem is behind her on the door, just above little Emily’s pink hair flower.
I love these lines so much I’m using them as the epigraph for the novel I’m working on.
Link to the complete poem here.
Speaking of love and sweet beach treats, my niece Emily told me she does not like caramel corn. She seems downright hostile to it. But not little Georgie:
Okay, I’ve decided I owe it to Murguía to type out his poem. The longing and nostalgia here is something I’m feeling now as I sit at my desk in Michigan, remembering summers of long ago at the beach, and one summer in particular with a red-haired boy who lives with me now.
(I’ve posted one of Murguía’s poems in the past–link here.)
Here With Your Memory
by Alejandro Murguía
Today I sat down pensive
staring at the sea
pinned like a prisoner
to another day
made a conch
by all fecund things you are
on this earth and in the sea
the cry of seagulls
the clouds like a reflection of the water
the sky like your caress that June day
of which the only thing left is this moment
these seconds when you surge again
out of the sea
your bathing suit pure foam
splendid, young mermaid
with bronzed arms
hair the color of burnt sand
woman made of spells, aquatic flowers
of earth, mountains, herbs
made into poems
because we were together that afternoon
and were transformed into calendars
where the days always return
with their same destinies
the same lovers and enemies as always
only you and I
because we were
a gush of water, music,
the ruby of a kiss
falling into the depths
where across all the years
we see each other
as we were that day
poor and in love with the whole world.