Lee Harwood

(born 6 June 1939 / Surrey)

The Seaside Poem by Lee Harwood


(for Peter Ruppell)

You wrote such a love poem that I was
dumb-founded & left to scratch the sand
Alone in the surf I couldn’t join the bait-diggers
I’d left my fork and bucket at home
& I am not rough by nature

You were sitting on top of a boulder deep in the forest
It was taller than a man & surrounded by pine trees
I think there are pine trees on Fire Island
but I’ve never been to Fire Island, though
I can imagine & we all know what could happen

there, but. . . . . . .
& the world that started in a parked car
was really a fearful one — It would only lead
from one confusion to another
& I couldn’t do this to you on the giant highway

She was a reason in herself, & women need
the menace of ambiguity in their actions
so one action might well signify the opposite
— an act of sacrifice really the act of killing & revenge —
& this much was true

The exercise book was green & the distance
saved much embarrassment though you were
in many ways ignorant of this
I still can’t find my bucket & bait-fork
but this is only an excuse

Submitted: Monday, May 16, 2011

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