Tuesday poem: Sand

March 12, 2012

Sand

Because it creeps into crevices like tiny crabs,
making a clutching claw of your buttocks,
and because these small private incursions
allow souvenir confetti to sprinkle for days,
as if the tacky beach had followed you home,
an over-friendly guest at the wedding reception
hoping to come on the honeymoon, sticking, and
because, unllke house dust and garden dirt
it seems clean, despite ten million dead things
crunching under your hot splayed feet,
fragmented into this smiling pointilist
carpet, into which you sink, wallowing;
you welcome it. You are the beached seal
on the long yellow towel spread out between
restlessness and mundanity, between sea
chopping, mouthing, swallowing, spitting,
and the inland everyday, shaping you,
trowelling you, like that avid child, eagerly
out-turning a bucket of wet,
inverted,
sand.

P.S. Cottier

The photo is of the place I like best in the world, on the south coast of New South Wales. I’m not going to give the exact location, as I am profoundly selfish. The tiny village there is surrounded by National Park so it can’t be extended. Locals (some of them) don’t want sewage or town water put on, to ensure no more development. You know you’re in the first world where people are campaigning against running water.

Everyone in Canberra treks to the coast whenever they can. Yesterday (Monday) was a public holiday in the ACT for Canberra Day, so nearly everyone left Canberra for the long weekend. Next year is the 100th anniversary of Canberra, so it will be interesting to see if more people stay for the festivities.

Personally, I’ll take the sand every time, and the milder weather. Everyone was still wearing just bathers and thongs, and we’re into Autumn. Kangaroos frolic in backyards. Black cockatoos swirl around, particularly before rain. So. very. nice.

This poem is from my first poetry collection, The Glass Violin.  For more poems from a variety of climates, please click on the feather, which I suspect is not that of a black cockatoo:

Tuesday Poem

4 Responses to “Tuesday poem: Sand”

  1. Tim Jones said

    A lovely poem and a beautiful spot – without your explanation of the photo, I would naturally have assumed that these were the shores of Lake Burley Griffin.

    I was also by the beach this past weekend, though where I was, the sand was black. Your poem is a quintessential celebration of sand the way it should be.

  2. pscottier said

    Lake Burley Griffin is an attractive (and, as I think you may realise, oddly surf challenged) bog full of carp, to the extent there is a ‘Carp-Out’ day where the aim seems to be to waste as many fish as possible. The lake is often closed to swimming because of the blue-green algae. That’s the dirty side of Canberra, Tim (or one of them anyway). There is a beach quite near the beach in the photo with dark pebbly sand, called, imaginatively, Dark Beach, so they do exist in Australia.

    Thank you for the kind words about the poem.

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