Sea Washes Sand Scours Sea Poem
(for my daughter’s wedding)
No hay camino. El camino se hace al andar.
Walking the shore that day, each reaches down
for stones from time to time, the other talking,
her eye finding stones like purple berries,
his hand holding a cloud-light shell to her.
Seas they cannot yet see are ancient seas;
trees they will later pass are not yet trees.
Shore that he looks back to turns to haze,
and sand that she imagines turns to shore.
He says, “Sea washes sand scours sea.”
“And sand drinks sea drowns sand,” says she.
Voices of gulls call through them on the wind;
the dog circles out beyond their voices.
“All that proceeds recedes,” he says at last.
“That you and I are here,” she says, “is all.”
The man watches the woman watches the man.
The woman loves the man loves the woman.
The day does not diminish other days;
they gain a newer language from the day.
Though wave by step their footprints wash away,
The day does not diminish other days.
Tom Vander Ven
first published in The Beloit Poetry Journal, vol. 47, no. 2, Winter 1996–1997