Honeymoon Island, Florida, 1995

On the beach looking north with the Gulf of Me...

The beach I walked daily
after my sister died
was just a beautiful backdrop
for my constant conversation
with God.  I framed
a question to infinity,
continuous in asking
& still no answer,
my voice incessant
as waves raking sand
over & over, its rhythm matching
the slow, hollow drum
my heart was

If I had use for a rosary,
each beaded prayer
would have been the same word,

The day of my answer
I wandered to the tip
of Honeymoon Island.
The tide was low, so low
I waded out a mile,
head down, watching for rays
half-hidden in sand
before the gulf water
wrapped my ribs in salt
& stroked my arms gently,
its warm hands
almost holding my own.

I was lifted by living water
when something warm
& equally alive
rose beneath my fingers
& curved to fit  my right palm
in a swimming caress.

She called out to her pod
to swim around me.
Dolphins.  I had waded out far enough
in my monologue
to meet six arching,
joyful guides
who nudged me back towards shore
& we played together
until the point where the water
was just below my hips,
where they circled me one final time
in a loose, casual embrace
& returned to deeper water.

They brought me truth
I had been listening for in shells
& in coded water-striking-sand;
that I had searched for,
written inside broken coral
& driftwood.
It was terrible in its clarity:
Beauty is where we find it,
& joy, &  love,
alongside the hard things
that bruise;
it is what raises our eyes
to look up again, or at least see even
with the world,
& do so tenderly.

These are the gifts
& the cost
of living,
& there can be no why

when everything simply is;

as the dolphins are
& as I am,
until we are not.

***Using this for the Dverse poetry prompt for the day.


About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
This entry was posted in life, New Free Verse and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

54 Responses to Honeymoon Island, Florida, 1995

  1. Rhonda says:

    Such loss as you have known my friend. Such beauty also. It’s wonderful and your Mom and Sister would be so proud of you!

  2. stunning! such beauty! such pain! what can one say? yes, what can one tell you, except – “weep not, child; they rest well and the sands rest gently on them”.

    • I love that phrase you use, Noel, it is so beautiful. No weeping–just remembering. Zoe has been asking me to write about the day I swam with dolphins for a little while now (almost the day I started writing again, she was nudging me here), and I have been avoiding it, because I knew it would be a challenging poem to do the experience justice. After all, they were a gift to make me lift my head up and stop mourning 🙂

      So glad you liked it.

  3. Sally says:

    Such a beautiful poem, Susan! I love this.

  4. Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

    Marvelous for so many reasons.

  5. unfinishedpractice says:

    F*#k. This is certainly the start of something

  6. unfinishedpractice says:

    Best image the rosary, the question why

  7. unfinishedpractice says:

    The imagery here is stunning. I think you can still pull more out of it, but it’s still breath-taking

  8. Claudia says:

    wow…the encounter with the dolphins gave me shivers cause that sounds so magical..like an appointment arranged directly from heaven..

  9. Mary says:

    I have done that walking and seeking answers as well. But you are right in the lesson you learned….there CAN be no WHY. We just have to go on living and accept what IS!

  10. Susan says:

    “my voice incessant
    as waves raking sand
    over & over, its rhythm matching
    the slow, hollow drum
    my heart was”
    Oh! Dolphins took you to play! and they were the truth:
    “Beauty is where we find it,
    & joy, & love,
    alongside the hard things
    that bruise;
    it is what raises our eyes
    to look up again, or at least see even
    with the world,
    & do so tenderly.”

    Thank you for taking me on this journey!

  11. Louise says:

    Gorgeous, Susan…love the flow of your poem & the mindfulness message 🙂

  12. poemsofhateandhope says:

    there can be no why
    when everything simply is

    ok….im not even kidding…im sat here with a lump in my throat…. seriously powerful…but very beautiful…there is something so enlightening in death…and I don’t mean that morbidly…but it opens your eyes…makes you think, makes you realise you are alive….and I think this poem is a reflection of you doing that….so so good…thank you for sharing

    • Stu–wow. Thanks so much. I am glad this spoke to you–it was a tough poem to write out, when I did. I seriously could think of nothing else to offer than this to fit the prompt. Glad you liked.

  13. What a lovely encounter with the dolphins…I like the grace of acceptance and moving on to relish the beat of life ~ Lovely share ~

  14. brian miller says:

    oh wow…what an encounter…yeah i think you got your answer….met 2 dolphins in the wild once…rather scared me at first thinking they were more a predator but…really love some of your thoughts here and imagine them quite the comfort to someone in like position…

    • Yes, Brian, I certainly did get my, and in such a memorable way. In the back of my mind, as I was playing with them was the fact that if the dolphins were playing with me, I was out far enough to be swimming with sharks, too–hence the faster retreat to shallow water 🙂 . They were a comfort, and I will never forget them.

  15. The pain of loosing my mother was dreadful enough, I cannot imagine what it must feel like to lose a sister. It was a little bit of heaven sent magic for the dolphins to show up right at the time that you needed a miracle. They ‘knew’ you needed too.
    This had me choking back the tears.
    A truly lovely read. No, there is no ‘why’ to ask is there.. it just ..is.

    • Oh, I feel your pain. Yes, the dolphins knew I needed some of their magic, their joy, and they shared it with me. I hope the tears you cried were healing ones. Glad this spoke to you.

  16. ManicDdaily says:

    Very lovely poem – really poignant and beautiful. I swam with Dolphins once (arranged) and it was an incredibly moving and beautiful experience. k.

  17. This is stunningly beautiful. So deep and full of wisdom and insight. The finishing lines are very powerful. Excellent write!

  18. Wow, this is amazing in every way. Those repetitive ‘why’ prayers are painful. What I love so much in your piece is the resolution. So many never find it. I also enjoyed the splashes of colorful language used at just the right times.

  19. Woooaaaah. I mean really wonderful and powerful. From the second line I was punched right in the stomach and the fist did not ease until the dolphins. Every bead on the rosary asking why, walking out into the tide searching for answers when none can be found. Just so evocative of emotions and images, wonderfully written.

  20. gardenlilie says:

    Stunningly beautiful! You did great, told a sad story, a memory and searching, finding a spec of beauty, an answer. You found the answer from the beach, water, sun and most of all from something living. Telling you it’s oky n move on. Glorious. Thanks.

  21. kamana says:

    loved the encounter with the dolphins

  22. janehewey says:

    they brought me truth/ I had been listening for in shells. – is where I began to hear the bigger piece of your poem. there is comfort here in the resolute. enjoyed this so much. lovely lovely!

  23. powerful and evocative – I was with you in the water with the dolphins! I was reminded of Dickinson when I read your poem – hauntingly familiar quality.

  24. jcosmonewbery says:

    “Until we are not”. That is about the size of it.

  25. Daydreamer says:

    Seems we both find our comfort at the beach! Beautifully penned!

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