Elizabeth Russell

The Beach

A child, designing castles on a beach,
Digging holes –
Sand streaming out behind her like a rooster tail,
Noisy, excited, breathless,
Every game an adrenalin rush of urgency

On her beach, each shell is a priceless commodity
And reality can be left behind
To play in the real world
Where the only pain is a stubbed toe or a skinned knee
Or the imagined pain of a make-believe arrow

Craving the diversion of imagination,
Her games are complicated and uninhibited.
She appears to be aloof and distant, but
Her unstated melancholy leaves behind contrails
Of sadness in the wet sand

The child is not yet familiar with the heartache
Of awareness,
And continues to play her game unchallenged
Unburdened yet by the double bind of forgetfulness
And memories – saviour and destroyer both

Her game over now, she walks slowly
No longer lost in a frenzy of delight
The beach no longer a catalyst to her imagination
Her battered psyche remains cocooned
Until time sloughs off the insulating force field
Of youth

Submitted: Saturday, April 23, 2005
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