nine and twenty abalone


rogue wave

the Pacific is angry after storms,

spits its vehemence upon a beach

I scry for transcendental relevance


fool am I to want the reassurance

of a chambered Nautilus…oh, my soul

to find meaning in the glow of sea glass


I watch children scavenge tidals for detritus,

pocket sandy bi-valve clams…all life dissolved;

think their skeletons are treasure…none


why then…do I nail upon a yard fence

nine and twenty abalone…grayed…barnacled

rainbow radiance diminished…there


Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Ray Ortner

12 thoughts on “nine and twenty abalone

  1. it’s interesting to see how the poem uses ellipses: in the first stanza not at all, but then using them more each stanza. it’s as if the poem’s persona becomes more hesitant as the poem unfolds. and, indeed, the last stanza presents a troubling image — of the old shells nailed to the fence and losing their radiance. as usual, bonnie, you use the tools in your poet’s toolbox to create a work worthy of the reader’s time and attention. — michael

    1. Abalone shells are beautiful to me, Michael. The nine and twenty–probably only significant to me–is a prime of life reference, yet as I wrote to a good poet friend, these days are also prime, hence the more reflective pace. You are exceedingly perceptive, a quality I greatly value. Smiles…

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