Saturday, May 13, 2017

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

Dear beloved ones,
I will return to the shores of Wickaninnish,
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,
dear ones.
Open your eyes to it all,
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. The poem was about returning home after death. I wrote this in May of 2016 and thought to revisit it today, with apologies for its length. In my poem, I meant this as a returning in another life, or as Soul, to the beauty of this earth I love so much. But I have been twice blessed, to have been granted a return in this lifetime to a beloved landscape. I walked the beach this morning, heart swelling with gratitude for this great blessing.

Shared with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United, where you will find fine folk and good reading of a Sunday morning.


  1. There is a beauty in these words made of living and dying and becoming one with all things... There is bittersweetness in the tone, which is balanced by the hope of knowing that everything is a circle... and that things will okay... someday.

  2. and all of its plants and creatures
    stir back to life.I will return to see

    There's so much to wonder for. A pity the world is still troubled by many distractions. Fantastic job here Sherry! Thanks for sharing!


  3. Nothing wrong with length, when you have plenty to say! I love the many ways the poem tells that you might return, and to what. (And of course, thrilled that you already have, in the flesh!)

  4. This is is a stellar song. The "I will return" echo really adds an element that touches the heart.

  5. Returning as raindrops would be a glorious thing, I think. Returning in almost any way would be a gift.

  6. Jonathan Livingston seagull - hope I spelt it right had an impact on me I sense the complete connection to the sea in this poem

  7. Your religion is nature and you speak so well for the creatures. I once refereed to a beach as the Louvre of nature with a Sistine Chapel of sky

  8. Dearest Sherry your tender poem spoke to me in whispers, longing, and gratitude! Thank you so much. It is a beautiful thought. The word itself, has special power, "return."

  9. Your return spells God's Love. What a beautiful poem
    Thanks for dropping by my Sunday Standard today. Happy Mother's Day Sherry

    Much love...

  10. Beautiful and love the jonathan seagull reference...

  11. I love the hopefulness of returning to a better world... it has to be something like that, your list of possibilities is great...and just maybe it will be a world were humanity is gone....

  12. I still cant believe you actually made it back to Tofino. It is miraculous. It shows you must never give up on your dreams. The earth is indeed beautiful especially by the sea.

  13. This poem is such a treasure. I will copy it and tuck it in the pages of my journal so that I may return to it time and again to enjoy!


  14. 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

    This is sooo gorgeously written, Sherry!❤️

  15. Captivating and full of imagery.

  16. I love how you wrote the poem and then returned later. Your life echoing your deepest desire. Happy Mother's Day, my friend.


  17. I loved reading this. It made me think, not of my soul, but of God, the spirit of all creation by whatever name we give It. It will return, like you say, to reclaim Its creation.
    I almost envy your morning walks in beauty but I'm actually so glad you have them. You deserve this.

  18. Your journey continues home.

  19. Beautiful, Sherry. I love the piece and the transcendence from our mortal body that it expresses. The phrase 'the morning mist drapes itself companionably' is epically stirring in its serenity. Just lovely.

  20. I should tell you this but I cried when I read this it is so beautiful and relevant, full of sadness but most importantly hope. Thank you Sherry.

  21. I was absorbing your poem Sherry with all 6 senses really... How blessed you are in current life to return to all you so treasure... Thank you for sharing! Love this poem!

  22. Beautiful hopeful words Sherry, nothing but. Thank you.
    Anna :o]

  23. Your love of nature and adoration of what this earth has to offer our spirits is so palpable in these words, Sherry!


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