The season turned; the winter birds are here
And the crowds gone, and the salt atmosphere
Is sharper, with a low hazed-over sun
Laying its wide and glittery roadway on
Gray ocean that looks lonely. Like last year.
-- Over the cliff s two hang-gliders appear,
Slope in and land nearby; I start my run.
Sand smooth, smooth! for a runner or a fl yer
In this gray light and chill air's misty blend
And the sanderlings, lively, lovely, never tire,
And the sun suddenly lights a deep red fi re
Up on the sand, using a beer can end,
And all of it makes up my heart's desire.
At the odd moment or lying awake
At three a.m. is not the storms that shake
Oranges from the groves on up the coast
And wash them out to sea (this year some crossed
The bows of fi shermen watching gray whales break),
Litter the shore with splintered trees and make
The news: X houses ruined, X lives lost.
What has stayed with me is such a thing as this:
I come in through the late dusk from my run,
A girl at the picnic table glances over
A half a page of writing she's just done,
Then stares out where the dark waves slap and hiss
Under the darker rainy low cloud-cover.