Beach Glass

While you walk the water's edge,

turning over concepts

I can't envision, the honking buoy

serves notice that at any time

the wind may change,

the reef-bell clatters

its treble monotone, deaf as Cassandra

to any note but warning. The ocean,

cumbered by no business more urgent

than keeping open old accounts

that never balanced,

goes on shuffling its millenniums

of quartz, granite, and basalt.

It behaves

toward the permutations of novelty--

driftwood and shipwreck, last night's

beer cans, spilt oil, the coughed-up

residue of plastic--with random

impartiality, playing catch or tag

or touch-last like a terrier,

turning the same thing over and over,

over and over. For the ocean, nothing

is beneath consideration.

The houses

of so many mussels and periwinkles

have been abandoned here, it's hopeless

to know which to salvage. Instead

I keep a lookout for beach glass--

amber of Budweiser, chrysoprase

of Almadén and Gallo, lapis

by way of (no getting around it,

I'm afraid) Phillips'

Milk of Magnesia, with now and then a rare

translucent turquoise or blurred amethyst

of no known origin.

The process

goes on forever: they came from sand,

they go back to gravel,

along with treasuries

of Murano, the buttressed

astonishments of Chartres,

which even now are readying

for being turned over and over as gravely

and gradually as an intellect

engaged in the hazardous

redefinition of structures

no one has yet looked at.

-- Amy Clampitt

1 comment:

Tania said...

I love beach glass! so pretty.