This poem was awarded 2nd place in COPIA's poetry contest garnering teenage contestants from across Georgia in 2009.
If only all beaches were combed by old men,
their feet swept spotted through the tan
smooth sun-spilt dust, dirt of the blue ocean, lit forth
the arching splendor of the sky, oh yes.
If only all seas were swept by old men,
grandfathers, lovers, tinker their feet into the waves. Old times watch
as clouds roll, gather asunder and light fire, spit thunder, laugh,
they aren't a bit surprised.
If only all days
were slow like them,
maybe we would all rest and watch the sun too.
If the clouds would roll by and we could stop time to roll
without any troubles but the old hands of time creeping into our bones,
stopping us from laughing.
that I could stand
under tweet hats and look at that sun, wash
my old ankles in the waters
of a thousand kings grand older than I,
and understand at least a fraction of the firmament, of the majesty.
Then I would know.
Then I would grasp, time-captured the grace, stumble
slow trod and sway into
the wind as the little waves
pick me up
below my soles, attempting
to carry me away but they
are not strong enough,
On that day, on that soft shore,
where the seagulls nest on white paint, chipped by salty air and dogs
run with pastel owners through the smaller tides
that wash up like lace
and fall back like a breath, like satin,
I'll be an old man then,
and smile warmly,
at last understanding
what beauty really is, and finding
peace and contentment with the years
and happiness with the warm, lit moment
that only I can embrace and truly call my own.
I wish all seas were strong enough. I wish all waves were touched and held
by old men.