A Prayer for a Deeper Bond
Precious Things – Putting the lid on the Jewellery Box
Ricky The Lighthouse Keeper
It’s a Baby
Fiery Gold the Dress She Has Become.
You Are Like the Ocean
A Manual for Joyous Swimming
Could I Be Like the Sea?
The Beachcombers Shack
Online Dating at Fifty – for Lady P
Sadness has passed and thoughts of new spiral and blast.
Can two share this one-off chance? Honour a jaded dream?
A photo of my left side, climbing a mountain.
You on a track day, collecting a trophy.
There you are! My English rose.
I am mighty and brave with ‘good sense of humour’.
You want to be with the white knight for endless nights.
You’ve seen mine and I’ve seen yours.
Flicker of fantasy how life could be:
Hand in hand, strolling.
Heads on a pillow, gazing.
Two busy cooks, spicing.
Searching your eyes on my retina display,
My finger hovering over the mouse.
Then the thought of how things have been.
How to start to end the ending of the ends before?
The finger presses.
Hello trophy girl
Hello mountain man
Five minutes to go. What to say? How to smile?
Breath out, forget the past,
fallen stars and buckled walls.
Breath in. Just be myself.
And there you are. Taller than your picture
but real—your eyes are blue
and studying me.
What do they see?
I stumble on “Hello”, but you’re still smiling.
The talk is sprint like fast and we are walking—
Light hearted jumble about anything, everything,
and laughter where we can.
We’ve finished walking, but we’re still talking.
I don’t want to go, don’t want you to go.
A quick drink?
Subjects new, something blue.
“I thought I could make it work!”
Somehow we’re still laughing.
I don’t want to go. Don’t want you to want to go?
Our glasses are empty, I’m half full.
Something to eat?
We’re not really hungry, but it’s just more fun.
The menu is words and numbers. I have to show, I wear glasses.
The face for other faces has gone,
melted masks and forgotten needs.
Wait! One last check, “what did I mean by…?”
But I can’t remember what I said.
So it’s just me doing me
telling you secrets, showing you hurts.
We really must go!
The waitress is waiting.
No kisses! Just a peck. But it’s OK:
There’s going to be a next time
For you to be you
and me to be me.
By Luke McEwen
I was inspired to write this after marketing myself on an internet dating site. It was an emotional experience and brought up many issues. What was I looking for? Who was I? What did I want from a relationship? What should I say about myself and what to leave out?
I found the experience of selecting a loving partner from a list of photographs and profiles profoundly humiliating. Thankfully, I managed to keep my sense of humour. The next illuminating step was to be the person I had defined myself as. Could I live up to that?
The raw experience of meeting someone that you have read about on screen is a peculiar ordeal. You must let go of your fantasy and deal with the reality in front of you. Later, you can audit the differences between what you both wrote in your profiles and your truth. Be gentle, as like most marketing exercises, each of you have the option of returning your item.
I took this picture above in Yeoville on my first holiday with Lady P. I feel it encapsulates the phrase “Can two be as one?”
A Prayer for a Deeper Bond
An innocent wish to join and be one
threatens the other who lives as two.
They who must defend their kingdom
will battle and break the brittle bond.
From our mouths word bullets shred
levelling us to the bitter mud.
Our sore stomach keeps the score
frozen and hollow in remorse.
Go gently, as the ladybird upon your hand,
and bury this heaviness in the sand.
Let us arrange words with grace,
like the flowers in a bouquet we place.
For we know little of love, not really.
Being neither its master or artist.
We have not received it, not properly.
Have we ever loved, completely?
Let us start as children, with a shy embrace.
Be in giddy glee with your majesty.
In wonder, tip toe towards to peek
and shake the box under the tree.
Ask the questions we’d skipped in haste
in the beginning of you and me,
as if it were the first time we had kissed
and found softness with our fingertips.
Let us forget all of our knowing and ask,
‘how would you like to be loved?’
Dismantle our weaponry and shield,
to heal our eternal bond.
By Luke McEwen
When working towards a deep loving connection, we can frighten our partners away. Greater closeness could threaten their freedom and sense of individuality. A battle for personal sovereignty may ensue, with posturing and arguments; harsh words.
Too readily we assume we share each other’s values and desires. That we are experiencing our relationship in the same way. But often there are differences and although they may be positive, they can lead to conflict as we try to bring the relationship into line with our expectations and meet our own needs.
After an argument we are ashamed and shocked at the words we’ve used. When the emotion has kicked in, and the rational has dropped out and a battle ignited in seconds. People remember the things you’ve said, and annoyingly, the severe words not the loving ones.
We must remember to be gentle with each other. To be curious and forget our ego for a moment. Investigate the person in front of us. Not the person we already know, with our assumptions and list of preferred memories. For that is who they were yesterday. Can we take time to find out how who they are today and in doing so make a deeper loving connection.
Precious Things – Putting the Lid on the Jewellery Box
Dirty blood diamonds,
guilty gaudy gold,
rusty wrinkled rubies,
silver, slippy in deceit.
The burden of her jewellery box
lurking in its secret place.
The coffin now in rapture
having stolen her very soul.
We regard her wondrous beauty.
How absolute her curves and features.
The hold of her smile and serenity of movement.
Yet the eye is drawn to the metal binding her.
Let her discard her bangles and jewels,
and show instead her lofty treasure
the embracing band of love,
around a solid bar of compassion,
engraved with pearls of wisdom,
encased in flawless, bounded truth.
It’s elegant clasp a ring of equality,
perfectly balanced and accessorized
with playful creativity and multi
faceted beauty of fairness and peace.
These are precious things.
Will she fold them into her core?
For they are priceless. Not for sale, but given easily.
And if she must have a treasure to have and to hold,
Then what of a hug, a kiss or embrace?
Breath the light, pure air
drink the joyous water.
Let a sunrise quench the soul
and in the warmth of that sun,
rest, for she needs no more,
having now all the precious things.
By Luke McEwen
I met a young couple out and about on a walk. They were smartly dressed, fashionable and very obviously adorned in fine jewellery. They were full of joy and laughter. I liked them. It transpired that they were engaged but were putting off the happy date till they had saved enough for the right engagement ring. I found myself quietened with this realization. Surely it was their love that was more important, not the size of the diamond they could afford. We walked and chatted some more and at an opportune moment I asked them if they had considered just buying a token ring for the moment? So they could be married sooner and buy a better ring in the future when it was easier. It was a beautiful moment. He looked at her and she looked at him.
Who knows what they did, but it got me thinking. What a strange relationship mankind has with jewellery. Why do we have such a peculiar bias about the value of precious metals and stones? They are just minerals after all. How strange that they excite us so. Like a cat drawn to the sound of scratching and a dog to a bouncing ball, we cannot help but admire the glitter of gold and the sparkle of a diamond.
Their beauty hijacks our reason and all too often we are hoodwinked into giving up our time, attention and money for something that does not serve us at all. We wear jewellery, but not all of it is beautiful, some of it a gaudy demonstration of our wealth. Some of it a clunky, ugly detraction of our own beauty.
Man is enslaved to mine these precious materials in life threatening and physically depleting conditions. People killing each other in the diamond mines of Africa. Health and safety ignored in so many other mines around the world. Just like the convenient disassociation we make when we buy meat in a supermarket, where we don’t want to see hands, feet or eyes through the cellophane packet. With jewellery, we ignore the awful conditions someone has suffered to bring it from the ground.
It’s an awful testimony to mankind that we are drawn to marketing labels in gold lettering. Gold banners hang over discount stalls and the entrances to shopping arcades to attract everyone to buying objects they don’t need. It is why we package muddy colored chocolate in shiny foil.
Jewellery has the craziest contradictions. Rubies are treasured by the impoverished pensioner with not enough money to keep the central heating on. It brings out the worst in us with our willingness to trade our integrity and respect. I imagine Judas selling out and fondling his thirty pieces of silver. We are all shocked at his disloyalty. Above all jewellery seems to dismantle our sense of measure, with some of us wearing jewelled watches more valuable than someone else’s house.
What of the ancient Egyptian’s burying their gold with their dead kings. Gold festering in a giant pyramid shaped jewellery box, or should I say coffin? The nation’s wealth plundered from finite resources returned to the earth for the afterlife of a king. They believed they were taking it to the next place. It made sense, but what of the people left behind? Their wealth was drained out of their economy. To be fair, the idea of a nurturing compassionate leader hadn’t been invented yet, but the opportunity for the country was thrown away, in a massive self-sabotaging disaster. And it wasn’t just once, they kept on till there was nothing left and they had no strength to fight the Romans. But the Romans didn’t defeat Egypt with strength, no they won by belief. The Egyptians turned their back on their gods. Can you blame them when it cost everything they had?
The ancient Egyptians were enslaved to create wealth for their kings. For who and what will you allow yourself to be enslaved. Do you bury your time like the ancient Egyptians buried their gold, your opportunity? Do you save it for a rainy day that never comes? Park it on the drive? Wear it like a suit of armour?
And why do we think it so beautiful anyway? Is it because it glitters like the sun on the waves, has the same hue as a rich sunset? I doubt it! More probable because we know its value is so high. Maybe what we think of as beautiful is more accurate when we were children. Do you remember finding a shell on the beach, a leaf in the wood. Coming home with a pocket full of pebbles, your treasure. We knew then that beauty is found in the simplest things.
What is wealth anyway? How about the wealth of experience? You cannot take your precious stones with you, when you depart for the next world. You only live your life once, it is your time which is your wealth.
I prefer junk jewellery. It knows its place. It’s the design which has grace. There is no intrinsic value. Junk jewellery is the purest form of artistry. It doesn’t rely on precious metals or stones to attract the eye. Colours, textures, materials ignite the senses. Its value comes from someone’s creativity not the economic rules of supply and demand.
We keep our treasure in a jewellery box, hiding it away and then visit for furtive looks inside. Trying not to think of the problems that could be resolved in the world if it were sold. Only occasionally do we wear it, yet we gave so much up to acquire it.
We are only gilding the lily. We are already beautiful. This jewellery is simply a distraction from the priorities in life, our love, our destiny, our passion, our bliss. These are precious things.
It’s true we are born fully realised, whole and worthy.
But with a difficult start it seems, there’s more to go.
Every day it’s the same feeling, ‘You’re not there yet’.
There’s still more to be done, before you’re fully you.
Too soon to be judged, regarded, applauded, defined.
You want to be an excellent swimmer, Olympic class.
Varying distances are selected. Onwards to your goal.
How will you feel when you’re there? It’s gonna be good!
It was difficult, a struggle, whilst the others had fun.
You worked, practised, strived, you triumphed. Hooray!
Oh what elation and celebration, that moment before
you ask yourself once more, ‘Am I good enough yet?’
What if I swam the ocean? Surely then, I’d be enough.
And the next day you ask. What’s next on my horizon?
What target is worthy, would make me complete?
This search for your horizon you race towards,
this constant distance to the finish line.
Can you ever arrive and be complete?
One day you’ll be enough you say.
But it’s the same distance away.
It’s a habit this becoming.
This moving towards.
Not quite there.
By Luke McEwen
How many of us are satisfied with who we are, or do we strive to be better? Most of us are striving I believe. How important to us is this person we are becoming? Is it vital or just a useful change? As things stand, are we enough, or do we feel woefully inadequate? Where is the balance between a desperate need to prove our worth and the responsible pursuit to improve ourselves? Society, friends, family, bosses, teachers are very good at putting pressure on us to be better. Many parents are far too earnest to hot house their children.
We can beat ourselves up with the knowledge that we are not as good as we could be. As if it were part of the human condition to try to be better tomorrow than who we were yesterday. But we must keep this in perspective and not lose sight of enjoying who we are today. Above all, to remember that logically it is always possible to be better, there will always be a disparity between where we are now and where we can go. The skill is to be content with this gap and if not to have perspective. We should not grieve who we may never be.
Ricky The Lighthouse Keeper
He could read the weather from a whiff of air,
the shape of a wave and the heat of a solar flare.
He learned to pay attention when he was a kid.
His father, either a torrid storm or utterly morbid.
The mother a cloud of tears or a fog of despair.
The lighthouse keeper wasn’t my boss, he was Ricky
and we worked, side by side, when I was junior wicky.
He taught me to see folk like he saw the weather.
‘Always be attentive and watch.’ He was clever.
For people are changeable and somewhat tricky.
They live on the surface with the troublesome wave.
Caught in its ups and downs. See em’ misbehave!
With its tragedy and farces, sagas and dramas.
An endless cycle of chaos and painful traumas,
which threaten to break you, distract and enslave.
Ricky said ‘imagine yourself on the calm of the ocean bed’
Away from all that drama. You can break free instead.
For here lies your treasure chest, the home of your soul.
Fill it with love and wisdom, for it is your North Pole,
for all the good stuff there is to find in a life fully lived.
Love is like the tide, he said, it pours out, it flows in.
But never at the same time, so love is patience within.
Wisdom is something you collect from a loss or a win.
Ricky had an old soul, someone else had filled his chest,
he found love and beauty in all. A man truly blessed.
This poem is from my novel The Angel of Eddystone, in which the protagonist finds the lighthouse’s guest book/journal and reads the entries from previous lighthouse keepers.
I may have idealized the notion of who lighthouse keepers were, celebrating their ability to cope with the isolation of their position. Inferring many skills that must come with the territory. What was the philosophy that helped them cope with their separation from the human race?
All lighthouses in the UK are now automated. It is easy to feel this is a regressive step and lament the charm the lighthouse keepers brought to life at sea. A man living like a monk, in quiet solitude with his thoughts. How accurate this idea is, would be difficult to say. My research suggests they were no more philosophical than your average man. Yet there was something about the post which attracted them to a lifestyle with very few companions, a slow pace of life and an awful lot of ocean.
It’s a Baby – Never!
I met you all pink and red.
The doctor, room, and linen, all white.
Mum on the table. Me with her hand.
I wasn’t prepared for such a sight.
We have a baby!
What else? You may ask.
The first time, when you tried to come before,
we waited to make our cries of joy.
Whispered plans. Secret smiles.
But then the scan.
No baby shapes in grey pixels.
“They’ve made a mistake!”
“What can we do?”
“What did we do!”
He’s gone …
Perhaps you weren’t ready?
A thought to bandage the pain.
Perhaps wanting so badly, jinxed you away?
We clawed for understanding.
All dreams redundant, now folly without you.
The cot that mocked our foolish endeavour, SOLD.
Just us, no you. An uneasy acceptance.
Others popped them out like an autumn harvest.
We, the ones without.
We, with unspoken loss and doubt.
Tests to see what’s wrong with me,
a lowly peculiar public humiliation.
The quiet waiting becoming a lonely battle,
trying to conceive the inconceivable.
I am not jealous. I am not jealous. I am not jealous.
I am crushed.
Then Mum was late!
And you were better than never.
But still ‘never’ was possible,
so I never thought of you,
Never a picture of you in my head.
No picking of names. No get ready shopping.
“Boy or girl?” All would ask,
I said, “Just a baby,”
They laughed, but it was true.
Never the fear of a dream too big to dream,
only that I would never be complete.
So even as mummy’s tummy grew
I never allowed a thought of you.
My imagination, swiftly, securely, gone.
That miraculous photo of you,
was just a fish, in a sea of goo.
Mum said “he’s kicking” and I saw her skin move
but I didn’t think of the how or who.
People said “talk to the bump”.
I just couldn’t think of a listening you.
But you were, and I wish I’d said more.
Not till I saw you. My eyes, mums nose,
not till I held you, warm with your baby scent,
not till then, did I allow the thought of you.
By Luke McEwen
This poem is a reminder that although we should never count our blessings, we should never be so unhopeful that we lose sight of the possible. Do not be broken by failure, loss and setback. You’re only defeated when your resolve is depleted, your resilience drained, and your expectation set to zero.
The best thing that ever happened to me, was becoming a father. It changed ever aspect of my life. Bringing with it most of my happiness, most of my sadness, most of my fears and most of my courage. Without my son I would not be who I am today, which is why his middle name is Graziano.
Fiery Gold the Dress She Has Become
Fiery gold the dress she has become
clinging to her womanly sea scape.
Sumptuous waves, soft smooth curves.
My daydreams stir my blood frenzied.
Like a shark that tastes, then flicks its tail.
Her beauty lifts the mist, and bold,
I would kiss her smooth and tiny lips.
Time and words have brought us here.
Is it only the ocean that divides us?
Night prayers and thoughts of her,
in my bed, my heart, around my head.
Resting upon her lap, I look up to her,
To me she sings a sweet melody.
My daily bread she feeds me,
with sound bites and giggle speak.
Desire swells like the ocean wave,
Gripping tight the sheet and pillow.
If within her comfort I could be king,
and lose myself and all others.
This is another poem from my novel The Angel of Eddystone. Ostensibly it’s a love poem, but like most good love poems it masquerades as a lust poem. I don’t think Lust poem is a formal category of poetry, but it certainly should be there. Maybe not the stuff you find on the public toilet wall that would not have the finesse we are looking for.
I think of it as a category only intended for consumption by the author. After all, who is the intended reader of any poem? Is the poet communicating their thoughts or recording and processing them for themselves?
It may appear that the lust poem is not a common genre, but perhaps more lust poems have been written than we think. Written by infatuated, desperate, sex-struck poets, with creative and detailed fantasies. Poems about other people’s spouses or film stars they’ve never met. Inappropriate liaisons with colleagues, bosses, tradesmen. There are endless opportunities for a lust poem. Yet, although they maybe more numerous than we think, they have not been shared and probably never will.
Hooray, there is now a lot less of me
a stone, six point three five kg.
There were these ugly lumps within me.
Unwelcome imposters, tremble and flee!
I’ve undergone a kind of surgery,
a diet of sorts, to cut them out of me.
Not about the foods that are good or bad,
but the relationship with eating I had.
Of all the many feelings, I only felt the badness,
a fatty knot of anger, and mass of sadness.
A swollen sense of grief and self-loathing.
Which led to a bout of constant craving
For the love I should’ve had left a hole.
A void I tried to fill with a plate and bowl.
Each mouthful would never last for long,
a temporary repair. I couldn’t be strong.
I filled it with chocolate, alcohol, cream.
And many concoctions gross and obscene.
It turned out no one else was to blame
My hand put food in my mouth. My shame.
I was the problem, I am the solution.
With grace I relax in quiet resolution.
There is no place inside for all the rubbish
I once desired, adored and did cherish.
I’ll fill the space instead with a novelty:
The love I’ve found for me. From me to me.
Now if you hold me you’ll find there’s less
I’m not sure which bit has gone, but it’s best.
With every lump I remove, I’m more condensed
The layer that covered me now ring fenced
I am more focused, I know the good and bad,
a new me, concentrated and from fat, unclad.
By Luke McEwen
The picture above is of me at university. I would look at it over the next three decades marveling at how I could have been so thin. I had almost given up returning to that size until an invitation arrived to go on a new kind of diet. It was all head stuff, the skills to avoid emotional eating. I’m very pleased to say it worked and although I did some fasting to lose the weight, I just eat normally now. It turned out it was nothing to do with miracles, magic or weird diets. Just good old-fashioned discipline to eat sensibly and consciously.
You Are Like the Ocean
I long to be inside and
if not, then beside you.
Everything is felt when
totally, truly immersed.
But what of the danger,
why so fickle, and unruly?
Whatever the intention
are you what I see,
a surface reflecting joy
but below, something else?
Inviting me in and then
sweeping me away.
Can anything be trusted,
even with my testing toe?
For I know I will dive in
without a safety rope.
You are like the ocean
I can gaze at you all day
marvel at the beauty of
mesmerising horizons and
constantly changing hues.
A curious spectacle
Absorbing all around.
“Ah, to live by the sea!”
They think of it as nurturing,
it can be.
They say it is so cordial,
it can be.
But after tonight
I think of it as frightening.
Beauty hides the horror
of all that you can be.
By Luke McEwen
I think most of us have two dimensions, maybe more. We have our polite, civilized and ingratiating side and then like a horror film, our darker more-needy and greedy personality can takeover.
During my writing of the novel The Angel of Eddystone, I kept coming across the idea that the ocean too has many personalities. Unforgiving and relentless one moment and then tranquil and accommodating the next.
In my poem you never get to find out what she has done to him, a vagueness creating a mystery. My painting of the lady in the pink bikini, I hope has this mystery. Who is above the surface? The inspiration for the painting came from a video clip. It was captivating to see only a proportion of her below the water. You are held in suspense waiting to see a glimpse of her face, and it is this denial that captures you.
A Manual for Joyous Swimming
A beach towel which acts as your
changing room, picnic rug and cushion.
Suitable swim apparel. Less is best.
Play paraphernalia, frisbee and ball.
On blank paper write your list of woes.
Now fold to make an origami boat.
Place upon the sea and let the tide remove.
Wave goodbye. Smile and hum happy song.
Centre and balance to disconnect the mind.
Tune in, focus, connect each of the senses.
Watch the sun sprinkle stars upon the ocean,
a blue-sky fade into the blue sea’s horizon.
Feel the sea’s strength, it’s playful wrestle.
The sun’s warmth, the seaweed squish.
Hear the waves fall over,
The seagulls laugh, a sigh’s surrender.
Smell the suntan lotion,
coconut and aloe, blueberry and other.
Taste, if you please the salty sea, yuck!
Unless on your lover’s lips, yum!
Do not approach slowly and dip toe.
Take ten steps back and then
run, hop, skip, splash, plop.
The easiest way for max immersion.
Whoop, smile and fall about.
Float, doggy, dive, pogo and shriek.
Another wave, another wave.
Here it comes, jump, splash and whirl.
Do not attempt to control the wave.
Abandon all. Lay back stretch out.
For it is never cruel or bossy.
It has no malice, design or will.
Nothing is required of you in the water.
There is nothing you must say to the waves.
You’re there for joy, nothing else, and
when you leave, you leave with nothing.
Frequently asked questions
No, you cannot have too much joy.
Yes, leave killjoys in the car.
No, you don’t need permission.
Yes, apply daily until end.
Thought, a type of misery
Love, a type of joy
Time, a type of misery
Play, a type of joy
Money, a type of misery
Laughter, a type of joy
If Joy is not experienced, go back to step one.
Not all of us are fitted with a manual override,
to disconnect the mind may prove illusory.
If so, please seek a meditative practice.
By Luke McEwen
Now who said poetry must be sad and moody. Playfulness and lightness definitely have their role to play.
I wonder, even if there was a manual on happiness and contentment, how many of us would read it. Not if they were men?
I think there are always clues and lessons for joy, but we have to be listening and of course, willing to learn. Above all, we must put it in the calendar. Remembering in our busy lives to make time to do the things we love and spend time with people that bring us joy.
Could I Be Like the Sea?
Safe on Eddystone, surrounded by the ocean, Jack, Ted and I.
Away from mankind’s ego and neurosis, its troubled eye.
Which only sees problems, and worries. They can’t simply be.
If only to fate would they surrender and be like the sea.
I’m sure people think we’re on some protracted retreat.
Did we concede some kind of humiliating defeat?
They say we’re hiding away from our biggest fear.
As if when the danger’s gone we’ll soon reappear.
Listen, this is our selected kingdom, a chosen peace.
For the sea has its natural wisdom and silent grace.
The sea can be stormy. There is damage like a war,
but then it’s forgotten, only the mess upon the shore.
For there was no malice, motive or judicious luck.
In our suffering, us humans get tied up and stuck.
We have no equivalent of the sea’s cleansing tide,
so forever in our endless rumination we must abide.
We are sent to our other home, monthly, like the moon.
But it’s a mixed feeling, there’s a sense of impending doom.
We are back in the land of madness, there the mass of egos,
Competing, gossiping, manipulating. All them restless weirdos,
who argue, preach, shame and guilt you, tease and slander.
Their delicate self-esteem offended, will abuse and philander.
If only they could forget themselves and be more like the sea.
They will agonise about their purpose and their reason to be,
How ridiculous! How unnecessary. Will they never be content?
To have the magic of existence, a unique condition, heaven sent.
They require an exclusive destiny, only adding to their stress.
Addicted to their grand importance and legacy. Oh bless!
I’ll stay on my lighthouse and avoid infection of their disease.
Not the cold or flu, but their habitual, continual feeling of unease.
We have our work to keep us true. Our life of simple pleasures,
our fishing and our cooking. The sky and sea the only measures.
We’re on leave from the asylum and their neurotic preoccupation.
I like the way I am out here. Simplicity at sea. A living meditation.
By Luke McEwen
You can no longer be a lighthouse keeper in the UK. The lighthouses have all been automated. But how many of us are lighthouse keepers in our own way? We may not live on a rock in the middle of the ocean, but how much to do we try to live like “Jack, Ted and I”?
Limiting our time on social media. Selecting carefully what we watch on T.V. Not getting caught up in shopping trends. Not giving in to societal pressure and spending all our savings at Christmas. Making the right balance between work and play. Finding our own spiritual path whether that be religious or philosophical. Living a life with integrity and purpose, as best we can. Choosing who and what we are influenced by.
Of course, all of this would be so much easier to do away from other people, protected and detached on a remote lighthouse.
The Beachcombers Shack
The allure of the beachcomber’s shack was,
as a girl’s simple design does, transcend.
Absorbing all that is found along the way.
Appraising each adornment for size and need.
Cherished flotsam, prized odds, and guarded ends.
A puzzle with missing pieces and picture lid.
In truth, more orchid shaped than square.
More measured chaos than architectural flare.
A place to live and breathe the summer days.
People would come, some would remain.
None of whom would log the tides or moon.
It was a North Westerly that tore the roof.
It pulled and flapped like a worried puppy.
Some scrap of rope was all it needed.
Yet no one searched upon the shore.
And before the full moon could shine,
the orchid shelter did wilt and scatter.
Wild and free she tipped towards the sea.
A skeleton of fallen timber and tarp.
How unyielding the seasons do arrive.
The Autumn Spring tide washed her away,
and piece by piece, she returned into the sea.
By Luke McEwen
We collect things from the people we meet: Jokes, facts, anecdotes, ways of dressing and speaking. We are altered by our interactions, like sponges absorbing the world around us. This is why I love to travel, you cannot fail to learn new ways of living. Hopefully you keep the good stuff and throw away the bad.
This judgment, of what to retain is rarely conscious. We automatically filter out what is good for us, what we find attractive, and let it percolate through our being. At any moment a new event, person or place may change the course of our lives as we become someone different.
In my poem the girl changes from youth to adult, from naivety to womanhood, from simple grace to a mature woman with all that brings: Wisdom, sophistication, nuanced demeanor. At some point she must decide when it is right to leave the beach.
I feel a little sad for our shack, having been swept back into the sea. All the pieces will float away and land on another beach. Hopefully, they will transform into something even more beautiful.