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At the Beach
Richard Greene


Summers at the beach
we turned pink on the yellow sand
wore grit like a second skin
fast high-stepped to the water
on sand sometimes so hot
we tried to run without touching ground,
splashed into the cooling water
tasting its brine
our nostrils full of that scent
that told us where we were
when we first drew near the shore,
swam out to waves
that carried us headlong on their crests
whirling us down as they crumbled
supplying us with breathless tales
when we were back on land.
Then we walked on the wet sand
where water followed in our footprints
while we gathered shells and sand dollars
and flat, smooth stones
rounded by the tireless work of water,
and watched white-vested gulls,
those dapper beachcombers,
waddle down the strand
or, balancing on a breeze,
glide down the shore
like notes of an arpeggio.

Then late in the day
when we were tired and the tide came in,
mesmerized by the ocean's pulse
we watched it rise on the beach,
dissolving sand castles,
so painstakingly wrought,
then, nonchalantly, slide back down,
and at night
the timeless sound of breaking waves
lulled us to sleep.

© by Richard Greene.
Used with the author's permission.


Richard Greene began writing poetry in the 8th grade, inspired by the opening lines of Longfellow's “Evangeline”—“This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks / Bearded in moss and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight"—which he was required to read in class. In college, after a classmate deemed Richard’s rhyming poem “trite,” he stopped writing until, a couple of years later, a class with Henry Rago, subsequently editor of Poetry magazine, inspired him to resume his efforts. But poetry fell by the wayside for almost forty years as a busy career in international development consumed his life. As retirement approached, however, Richard’s dedication to poetry returned; he has since published three chapbooks: The Broken Guitar: Poems of War; Becoming Old: Poems of Aging; Painting with Words: Landscapes in Verse; and one full -length collection, To Talk of Many Things: Selected Poems. Richard, who lives in Nyack, New York, shares a "poem of the week" with anyone interested; get on his mailing list by requesting it at



Post New Comment:
I enjoyed reading your poem Richard. Thanks for a day at the beach.
Posted 07/14/2018 09:18 PM
Lori Levy:
When I read the poem, I feel like I'm right there on the beach. Great!
Posted 07/14/2018 06:17 PM
I enjoyed the poem and also the bio with difficulties getting started as a poet. "Trite" was such a cruel word, uttered thoughtlessly I'm sure.
Posted 07/14/2018 10:24 AM
I lived very near the ocean's roar and calm for 27 years on Cape Hatteras... This poem has all of the soothing feelings I knew then.
Posted 07/14/2018 10:12 AM
The wave tumbled me and the sand scraped my shoulder 66 years ago body surfacing. Thanks for the memory,
Posted 07/14/2018 09:36 AM
Larry Schug:
These words cause a northern mid-western land lubber to long to be near the sea once more, both in a physical and metaphysical way.
Posted 07/14/2018 08:47 AM
Yes, this poem is the next best thing to being there! Thank you Richard.
Posted 07/14/2018 08:01 AM
Richard is a wonderful poet. I love all his work - this especially.
Posted 07/14/2018 05:52 AM

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