Sandy Beach 1963

By Peter Halstead

Once again the ocean
Comes alive with sun

Without demands or friends,
And in front of me, no ends;

Just salt blowing from the waves
And its obeisant slaves

Lying on the brink with me
And see-through mist, and sea,

With clatter in the trees
And future on the island breeze.

Future everywhere, no past,
Horizon guaranteed to last—

My life to date in panorama:
Coppertone and kadama.

No memories or guilt—
Just a suntan stuck with silt;

My predestined youth ignored
In favor of a boogie board;

So early in the world that games
Like frisbee have no names,

The ocean summer floating free
As swells beneath the day's debris,

No prophets to deter us,
Only light and skimming cirrus

Unattached to earthly things,
A turquoise sandbox without strings,

A distant cloud above a shoal
The flapping summer's only goal,

A sky to climb but not to summit,
Not to scale it, but become it.

And now, the same air swirling round,
The same promising, farsighted sound,

But forty years removed from then,
The dream is even truer when

The future imitates the past because
When I look back at it, it was.

Sandy Beach, Oahu
January 19th, 2003