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San Francisco Bay Park, Dusk

Written By

By Carol Barrett

Adjunct faculty, Creativity Studies Program
Saybrook University

For my friends at Saybrook University

           

Pink clouds camp out along the far shore.

They are the homeless ones, who live here.

 

Roots of trees ripple the path, trunks roiled

at the base, as if with great cancer. They lift

 

their thin arms overhead, and survive.

Egrets bury their bony beaks in wet sand.

 

Gulls prance near the water line, tracing

the squiggles and bends. They have grown

 

used to the rolling thunder of planes,

which slide through the clouds like pages

 

of a fairy tale, turning in the leaf-light

breeze.  Here and there, planted markers

 

denote public shore, reminding us

each one is free to be here, each

 

free to travel to a new world. Inside

a grand hotel, rafts of students gather

 

to begin their journey, protected,

for now, from uncertain winds.

 

They are flying visions, faint as first

stars. They are massaging dreams

 

in rooms where teachers listen, pause,

laugh, and cry, circling the heart’s compass.

 

When they touch their fingers together

like the partnered bridge of Virginia Reel

 

memories swell -- the seventh wave,

sudden, full. Now they are breakdancing

 

twists and turns of the mind. Already,

visions are dressing themselves

 

in clay or silk, blue feathers, or beads.

This is a place of launch.  Few here

 

call this city home. We have dropped

our moorings, let the waves be guides. 

 

We have come from the everglades,

from long winters in Kansas, the fog

 

of Seattle lights, the high desert

where Coyote howls at the moon.

 

We have come knowing there is no

return, only the moment

 

when the curled bark of an old

madrone peels itself loose

 

and the tree and the seeker are one.

 

 

 

 This poem was originally published in Forage.

 

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