This poem was awarded 2nd place in COPIA's poetry contest garnering teenage contestants from across Georgia in 2009. 

Old Men


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

sprung from

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 

with them, 

without any troubles but the old hands of time creeping into our bones, 

stopping us from laughing. 

I wish

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, 

look there. 

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 know. 

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. 

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