Friday, June 29, 2012


This week I traveled with my mom alongside Tropical Storm Debby as she marched across Florida.

Here is the Gulf Coast, at Bradenton Beach. The waves were hungry lions, and the salt and sand needling as a quilter on a quiet Sunday afternoon. But I still got that soaring feeling inside my soul as I was wind-whipped on that shore.

Now, cross-state: the Atlantic at sunset, on Vero Beach. Calm and lovely as a sleeping child's cheek. I couldn't believe the bevy of shells. Yes, I brought some home. And a little sand too!

My next trip to Florida will be in September for SIBA Trade Show in Naples. Can't wait!

And now for a beach poem! This one is one of my father's all-time favorites. It's also one of my all-time favorites. Love how wave-like its rhythm... and how it makes me feel. More great poetry for Roundup with Marjorie at Paper Tigers

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The tide rises, the tide falls,
The twilight darkens, the curlew calls;
Along the sea-sands damp and brown
The traveler hastens toward the town,
And the tide rises, the tide falls.

Darkness settles on roofs and walls,
But the sea, the sea in darkness calls;
The little waves, with their soft, white hands
Efface the footprints in the sands,
And the tide rises, the tide falls.
The morning breaks; the steeds in their stalls
Stamp and neigh, as the hostler calls;
The day returns, but nevermore
Returns the traveler to the shore.
And the tide rises, the tide falls.
Readers, do you have a favorite beach poem? Please share!


  1. If only we could have a beach in North Alabama... a beach with no sand... don't like sand in any of my cracks and now that I'm old I have cracks everywhere.... love the sight,smell, sound of the waves and primarive influence it has on state of mind...I believe I have pirate blood in my heart... shiver my timbers and ARRRGHHHH, matey... Hoist the Colors

  2. Love that second photograph...the sunset, shells and slippers - so soothing!

  3. The rhythm really gives a sense of the waves coming and going endlessly.

  4. Of course YOU would see the quilting in the waves and sun and sand!! :-)

  5. Love the poem and your poetic musings. "salt and sand needling as a quilter on a quiet Sunday afternoon" = beautiful!

    Longfellow's poem is soothing and evocative, wonderful to read this morning. Thank you!

  6. Welcome home, Irene! What crazy weather you had for your trip. I'm with Jama smiling at the quilting imagery. (And who knew Pat was part pirate?)

    Beautiful poem; impossible not to gently rock as you read it.

  7. Oh, this poem is just what I needed to soothe my soul after a disappointing morning. So lovely! Thanks for sharing it, Irene!

  8. There's something potentially tragic about this poem - so beautifully written too. And I love your contrasting descriptions of the sea with their beauttiful photographs. Were in Brittany a few weeks ago and experienced the same breathless exhilaration of a stormy, wind-swept sea hitting the beach.

  9. What a wonderful poem - all that repetition, even of "The sea, the sea..." as well as the last line of each stanza - it's just like the waves lapping, isn't it. Form and content match! Thanks for posting it, Irene. I am so in the mood for the beach.

  10. It sounds as if you have a poem waiting to be written about your trip!

  11. That poem would go wonderfully with Maggie Stiefvater's Scorpio Races.

    For beach poems I love e.e. cumming's "maggie, and milly, and molly, and may"

  12. Hi, Irene. My parents live in Bradenton. The beaches in that area are wonderful! This is such a lovely poem. I got to know it through a CD by folk musician Ted Jacobs -- poems by American poets, all set to music. I can't read this poem without hearing that music in my mind. Enjoy the rest of your visit.

  13. I won't get to the ocean this year, but I've made it the past two! I have to settle on being near the mountains. I've done two sailing trips with students, so my favorite poem is a John Masefield that starts: "I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,". We really did run the ships & it was an amazing experience. Sounds as if you had a lovely time, Irene, albeit stormy. I'm glad for you. Thanks for the lovely poem.

  14. We just had a vacation in Florida and I'm missing the ocean ... perfect post for me for today .... :)


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