Bruce Beaver

(14 Februrary 1928 - 17 February 2004 / New South Wales / Australia)

Death's Directives (Ii) - Poem by Bruce Beaver

Death beckoned me towards the beach
the same one on which I’d spent days,
weeks, years made up of the hours
of my life as a child —
The hidden in the warm salt hazy dusk
of summer evenings I’d moved mesmerically
from end to end of the darkened sands
feeling their mush of powder between my toes
at the phosphorescent tideline
or breathing the tired air
beneath the seawall.

Or forgetful of everything but the now
of sunlight and spray of the breaking wave
shouts and cries of the playful surfers
at morning, midday or dreamily fading
late afternoon of the interminable days
of summer, blue white sky and the jade
and opal of the everywhere reaching sea
and the illimitable horizon line.

Or walking forward towards the central
Steyne’s mid-point of beach and my home
two streets back from the sands and the blowing
spray, walking beneath those colonnades
and high cathedral rood of healthy pines
where the pigeons clustered and rose to fall
gently irresistibly to the grassy verge
of the path beneath the pines, where I heard
walking a music moving with my steps
withing me as I was within that landscape.
Or kneeling again on the cool sands
of autumn, following the line
of wrack, on my childish knees, shuffling
forward like some pale and smooth skinned
animal snuffling its way from stick to weed
and other relics of the ocean’s saga.

It was death that walked with or knelt
beside me there — Death the colour of dawn
or sunset, bright midday or dark midnight
of deep summer when the sleepless people
come to walk within the lukewarm shallows
or sit beside the wall in the breathless air.

Whether in heat or chill air I moved
beside the ocean it was death that led
or accompanied me — Not mine, but the myriad
around me in the streets and every second
house, the simple cottage or the foursquare
block of flats. Up from the beach or down
from the hill I’d watched death knock at many doors
and the dead come out and move towards the ocean,
go lightly across the sand or heavily
dragging reluctant feet to fade into
the neverending cortege of waves —
Until I knew I moved and went with the dead
in pretty costumes or the plainest cloth,
lightly or heavily garbed to suit the season
until the great storms would come and neither
the partly living nor the dead could cross
the battered shelving sand or find a way
into that abyss of the transformed ocean.

The I would huddle in the sheltered room
and make new myths about the life of things
until death beckoned once again
to me to go out into the streets
of Limbo, down to the sands and waves
and wait a while as forever came and went
across the calmer waters towards and from
the perpetually falling horizon.


Comments about Death's Directives (Ii) by Bruce Beaver

  • Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (5/10/2014 4:33:00 AM)

    Nice imaginations and death its memories a good poem. (Report)Reply

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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 30, 2012



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