Saturday, May 14, 2016

Watch For Me, a Sandpiper at the Edge of the Sea

Dear Earth,
I will return to the shores of Wickanninish,
roiling in winter storm.
I shall come back to watch the morning break
against blue sky and rose-tinged puffy cloud,
to see all the creatures stir and waken,
and the day unfold.
I shall return to gaze in wonder,
at the end of day,
as the sun sinks, purple, azure, gold,
below the horizon,
and the skies become a masterpiece
painted by God.

I may return as a seabird,
as Jonathan, 
still outside of the pack, observing, 
still hobbling on the ground
and dreaming of the sky.
I'll pick a shell in my beak 
and carry it off to my perch,
then drop it,
deep in the forest,
for a wanderer to find, 
and marvel at, years hence.
Or I might be a sandpiper, 
one of the flock,
lifting and turning together
as one body, at the edge of the sea.

How could my spirit not return
to the forests and rivers and ocean I love,
to catch my breath once more as the morning mist
drapes itself companionably across Lone Cone,
to behold once more her slopes turning deepest rose
in late afternoon?
The call of the murmurous, forever waves,
the smell of salt, kelp and seaweed,
ocean essence will draw me, as before,
to the beautiful shore.

I will return, once again young, 
for the smell of peony
on soft-scented summer evenings,
for a shy, youthful kiss under weeping willow,
lake ripples lapping gently,
and all of life's hopes and dreams lying ahead,
all golden and shining.
I will return for apple blossoms, 
and the smell of sage on hot, dusty hills
covered with yellow flowers.

The blue sky will draw me back
as it drew my gaze for all my many years,
as will the ancient trees, where restless spirits live,
their mournful song whispering secrets and wisdom -
urgent truth for us to hear and heed,
if we but listen.

I will return to see the ocean
come back to life again, abundant,
recovered from its slow dying,
after the plastic waste and dumping, 
the polluting and the killing stops,
and all of its plants and creatures
stir back to life.
I will return to see 
the clearcut mountains greening up,
bees and butterflies and wolves
abundant once again, and thriving,
as that earth we are dreaming about now
heals and comes back into being.
I will return, with joy,
at that awakening.

If I don't return in body,
I will return as raindrops on salal,
as moss on an old stump,
or old man's beard on cedar.
I will return
in wagging puppy-tails 
and wise old elephant eyes,
or a grey whale, diving, 
its fluted tail arching over and up,
then slipping down, down, 
into the mysterious depths.

Watch the world with wonder,
as I have these many years,
and you'll find me,
never farther away than
the nearest beautiful thing.

This poem was inspired by some translated lines of a famous Bengali poet, Jibanananda Das, sent to me by Sumana, and included below. I love this poem so much, and it stirred a response. Thank you for the inspiration, Sumana. I needed some!

Shall return again to the Dhansiri banks 
of Bengal
Maybe as a brahmini kite or a myna 

if not as a human
Or a crow of dawn in this land 

of autumn harvest festival
Will come one day sailing on mists 

to sit in the orchard shade
I could be a duck, tying a lass's tinker-bells 

on my ruby feet
I'd glide the day on pond exuding
water spinach scent
Will return once more for the love of 

this Bengal's rivers, fields and meadows
On this mournful green banks 

moist with Jalangi's waves 

Posted for the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, good reading every Sunday morning.


  1. Oh, what a glorious return this will be, Sherry. I like the way you have expressed that there are many different ways that one can return. I am especially drawn to returning as 'wagging puppy tails."

  2. I too would choose to return. Perhaps we'll be friends again, then? A glorious poem! Thank you.

  3. aw...Sherry, a grand response to the Jibanananda every word of this amazing poem... we are old spirits returning again and again for the love of our dearest mother earth...

  4. Awesome. I believe every word. Relishing it and letting my own spirit fly.

  5. This is a wonderful poetic dream, all the beauty of the world is there... it's like a wish, yet I wonder who will return as a slug...

  6. Such an exquisite response to the Jibanananda lines Sherry.. sigh especially love "I will return, once again young, for the smell of peony on soft-scented summer evenings, for a shy, youthful kiss under weeping willow.." Beautifully executed.

    Lots of love,

  7. Such a sensitive, beautiful poem. A true song of the spirit.

  8. You will and you will be a part of that beauty - as you already are - so many wonderful images and such tenderness and affection for the world around..your light shines - rose-tinged :)

  9. As Jonathan or one of a flock of sandpipers.. such a beautiful wish..

  10. What a stunning piece of writing I really loved it.

  11. oh wow!, this is an exquisite piece of poetry and a great response to Jibanananda Das's poem.
    i loved your reference to Jonathan and yes, what will we think when we find a seashell deep in a forest?

  12. Sherry the sheer beauty of your lines inspired me....and I knew something touched your heart and soul and you sang in these glorious words....thank you for this and thank you Sumana for your inspiration too!

  13. Sherry, this is, I think, my favorite poem you've written! I was truly spellbound, especially by those lines about leaving something in the forest, waiting for someone else. I guess I'm a fellow lover of this type of verse: the nostalgic, the longing, the loving. I'll think I'll try my hand at a similar type of piece. Thanks for this...

  14. Such a beautiful piece, it certainly pulled at my heart strings, you touched every note!

  15. This was so beautiful I have no doubt you will return my friend.

  16. luv the hankering for harmony in nature, for surely should you not return, there will be an imbalance
    dear Sherry

    Thank you for dropping in at my Sunday Lime today

    much love...

  17. Thank you for sharing the rich beauty you find and see,


  18. My goodness...what a cracker of a poem.Some of this imagery is absolutely beautiful...Exquisite work Sherry !

  19. Beautiful words. I particularly enjoyed the reference to Richard Bach's character Jonathan Livingston - Seagull, having read the book quite recently.

    I've not had the chance to read poetry books of works translated from the regional languages of India yet, so it was a pleasure to read the Jibananda poem as well.

  20. Poetry from Jibanananda Das shares the romanticism and nostalgia in the search of a lost world.
    Beautifully written, sherry. You've rendered poetic justice to our beloved poet. Great lines....
    "Abar ashibo firey dhaan shiritir tire..." *humming the lyrics* Smiles.

  21. Wow. You really know how to see beauty Sherry. Your outside, as within. You will definitely return to be natural, to love nature. This is such a beautiful poem. As beautiful, if not more so, than its inspiration.

  22. Love the notion of 'return'. Especially it resonates with me when you talk about the ocean, the salt smell...wonderful poem for sure resonates with many.

  23. "the nearest beautiful thing" may not be within touching distance, but if we are willing to seek it, we will surely find it, though the journey be long...

  24. We have been exploiting the nature, not thinking how it would affect us in the future ... hope we all can unite and make the world a healthier place to live in.

  25. One shall return in spirit or in person to take account of what had transpired. Memories will not be erased or obliterated even in the sub-conscious. Rightly so Sherry!


  26. The first line, to the last your poem gave me peace. It drew me in and was so lovely!


I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!