Friday, January 27, 2012

Light, Language, Beach Glass, and Shells

Are you experiencing a bleak January where you live?  If so, you might enjoy my photo essay that celebrates color and light; it's on my theology blog.  Has anyone written a theology of photography?  The photo essay is less theology and more a celebration of different art forms and the way the light plays with them.

These are the days that drive people down to our shores on South Florida, and our weather has not been disappointing.  It's been rain-free, breezy, and warm.  The other night when we got ice cream cones on the beach, I marvelled at the variety of languages that surrounded us.  I'm used to hearing Western European languages here, but lately I've been hearing a lot of Slavic syllables--most interestingly at an all-you-can-eat Sushi place, where a work crew ate and talked in what sounded like Russian.

Now we shall take a break and sing "It's a Small World After All."

If you're craving the beach, you might take a look at Dave Bonta's wonderful poem about beach glass.

His poem reminded me of an experience many, many years ago where we took a crew of visitors to Edisto Island, in South Carolina.  Edisto has a reputation as the beach in South Carolina where you'll find the best shells, but that day all the shells seemed the same, like small communion wafers.  Before I gave it a second thought, I popped one in my mouth.  I loved the salty taste, the smoothness of the shell against my tongue.

I thought of communion wafers, which crumble or get sticky when mixed with saliva, and shells, which don't.  There's a poem lurking there, but it's not the one I wrote.


I stand at the best shell-finding beach in South Carolina,
but all the shells look the same:
bleached by sun and salt,
all their jagged edges sounded clean,
all worn into rounded disks.
A sea of communion wafers
stretches before me, and before
I even think about what I’m doing,
I kneel and select one, wipe
it with my calloused fingers,
and pop it in my mouth.
I slide my tongue across the smooth surface
that tastes of the sea’s mysteries.
I resist the urge to bite or swallow.
I suck it clean and choose another and another
until I have a pocket of shells
awaiting my mouth’s consecration.


Dave said...

Nice! I'm glad to have sparked this gem of a poem.

Kathleen said...

Oh, thanks for your beach poem and the link to Dave Bonta's!