Friday, August 27, 2010

Spanning Time

At six-thirty,
the sun rises
grasping bell towers and palm leaves
in its flame.

Slowly, it stretches
further down
brightening the beach
and the back of a young man
pedaling his bike.

Rays of light
shadow his knapsack
pointing toward
the personal contents
inside; some bread, some cheese
and a book.

Last night, he turned
five pages and read
poems on old parchment,
learned of a lady
who entered the sea.

She carried the shore bird's song
on her shoulders
and round stones in her bodice.
She placed them beneath
the tight lacing
to mark her last moments on earth,

the weight of love
calibrated by sad tears,

of candlelight
haunting Autumn
from a dark piano

and her bare feet
rubbing against the wet
intimacy of sand

which should have been
her lover's torso
muscular and lean.

But it was merely sand
that would soon become
drifting time, even glass
spun into mirrors

reflecting back
the loneliness felt
in girl or season,

and currently, this coast --
line propelling
the tourist to ride
along the sea
shaping words into a ghost.

Intent, he looks for her
floating in between
bell song and palm sway,
the morning's air transformed

into human breath -- hers
soft and intimately close
as the French bread, the breast-white
ounces of Camembert

Spanning Time is a poem depicting the lonely but quiet coastline after sunrise. Inspired by the wistful shading and lovely detail in Marie-France’s painting, “Il est cinq heures..”, this verse follows the morning light and focuses on a young man bicycling along the beach. The contents of his knapsack are revealed with special emphasis on a book of poems. He has read several pages and becomes infatuated with their main character –- a lady who walked into the sea suffering from despair and desertion by her lover.

According to the poems, she wandered the shore collecting stones to signify her “last moments on earth” and carried the grievous song of the sea gull on her shoulders, The bird’s plaintive cry matched the anguish she felt within. She ached from the weight of love, candlelit music echoing Autumn’s melancholy mood and her feet rubbing against the sand, the sand which was warm and softly wet like the remembered body of her partner. As she walked barefoot toward the waves , she knew the sand would eventually turn to drifting time; and perhaps, be used to make glass, mirrors that could reflect back all the loneliness captured within the drama of the coastline and her life.

And her instincts prove true as the vacationer rides along the sea imagining her figure floating between the palm leaves and bell towers. It’s early morning and the sweet air becomes her breath clinging close to him as the fresh bread and creamy cheese in his knapsack.

Note--- As my blog entry indicates, the lovely painting is called, "Il est cinq heures" or "five hours since", by French artist, Marie-France Riviere. More of her lovely work can be viewed at this website,

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