stray thoughts while walking along the beach

Cliff House from Ocean Beach
Cliff House from Ocean Beach, San Francisco


how painful it is for them to write, those poets in tough-times and hard places, where blood and tears and poverty contaminate the air, stain the sidewalks and consume the people

the blood must be soul-sick and rusted and tasting of acid, not salt,
the poems meant to heal the writer and stroke the cheeks of the wounded, to dry their eyes and gently kiss their gray heads

to poem in such places must be like walking shoeless on glass shards

perhaps the most sacred thing in a poet's dream meadow is Light
do they awaken to see the Divine on the battlefield, in the camps, in housing projects and ghettos or when living rough on the street ...

if so, they are saints, not merely bards


in the safe confines of my world, my civilized world,
life is simple but rich
people fall asleep reading or after lovemaking or playing in the park with their children
if we wander it is through books or planned travel
there are roofs over our heads
there is food, sufficient for the day
there is cleanliness and paper on which to write, perhaps a luxury
no bombs are dropping
there is dignity


in San Francisco we walk along the beach at night, near the Cliff House,
we walk to the sound of the waves, the sound of the Universe chanting its praises
our feet are bare and relish the comfort of cool sand

the air is clear and cold and easy to breathe, tasting of salt and smelling of sea life,
here is a pristine moment of peace

i want to bequeath this peace to you, to everyone, as though it were a cherished heirloom, it is a birthright

i want to plunge into the enigmatic waters and gather the oceans to offer as sacramental wine in my cupped hands; a reminder that no matter what we name ourselves, we have a shared mystical origin

i want to form the seaweed into garlands for everyone to wear, hanging over our hearts, a symbol of affection

i want to collect pine cones from the trees that congregate along the coast and feed them to the children to remind them to love the earth and all its creatures, themselves included, and to say ...
do not make war in your heart or upon your mother’s body ~

© 2013, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; Photo by BrokenInaglory via Wikipedia under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported


  1. Sharmishtha Basu said on October 12, 2014
  2. Jamie Dedes said on October 14, 2014

    Reblogged this on THE POET BY DAY ~ The uncollected poems of an accidental poet. Sometimes ... not poems. and commented:

    This is my first post on Begin (Beguine) Again, the partner blog to The Bardo Group and a place where you will find daily meditations and wisdom practices from people representing a variety of spiritual perspectives including atheism. The shared core value of this collaboration and its team members is nonviolence.

    1. silentlyheardonce said on October 15, 2014
      This is really beautiful. Thanks for re-blogging Jamie.
  3. michaelwatsonvt said on October 14, 2014
    Such a human poem. Thank you!
  4. Victoria C. Slotto said on October 15, 2014
    Jamie, what to say? This is sacramental, born in tears and blood.. (and I love that stretch of beach.)

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