poetry and prose about place

returning to the shore

with 8 comments

Each summer we try to include a visit to the seashore in our vacation plans.  This year we explored the coast of Maine and discovered Acadia National Park.  Last year, we followed the South Shore of Nova Scotia, stopping at its many public beaches and byways.

The seashore is a magical place.  One of the beaches we visited in 2010 was Crescent Beach, near Lunenburg.  At the far end of the two kilometre long beach was an outcrop of calcareous rock.  This rock had been eroded and pitted by wave action over the millennia.  At one spot, the erosion had worn a small hole in the rock, just big enough to put my finger through.  For that moment, I was wearing the whole earth as a ring on my finger!!

wearing the world on my finger!

The other magical aspect of the seashore is its changeability.  In 2009, we followed the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia and made our second visit to Tor Bay, near Larry’s River.  When you stand on the beach at Tor Bay, the energy of the ocean and the drama of the wave action occupies all of your senses, all of ‘self’.  The drama had also changed the beachscape significantly between our two visits, shortening its depth and exposing rocks I had not seen on our first visit.

It was as though we were not in the same place at all, but remembering a fable about a beach we had once known.  No matter how hard we tried, we could never return to the same beach we had visited before.









the fragments

layered by water

forged by fire

thrust and folded






this morning

the moon is real

sculpted in wavefoam

smooth as a pebble

random in the clatter



not a fable of moon


the rocks are folded

half-buried in sand


on the shore

an igneous man

in his lap a puddle of water

salt crystals

and stars


a quartz river

seams his forehead



not a fable of river




I place quartz stones

too heavy for the gulls

to gather


these stones will shine

in darkness

a long line leading home




I choose small stones

with smooth and shine


stones like eggshell

or potatoes pushed

into ground


pearl buttons

turned by a clumsy hand

rice pelting the window

lanterns shining in the dark




at midnight

I run to the shore

the white pebbles

gather me to the moonlight

a dotted line

on the asphalt road




the pebbles do not

wait for me

they fade

and scatter

roll over and over


among so many

common stones


the wave edge

unravels behind me




the path home is a fable

not real


in my lap is a pool

salt water

and stars




© Jane Tims  1998

Crescent Beach near Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Written by jane tims

September 21, 2011 at 6:39 am

8 Responses

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  1. Lindesfarne isn’t too far from us and the cradle of christianity in England. It’s beautiful on a clear summer evening to watch the tide envelope the causeway to make an island. I’m not familiar with Insch, (need to look it up) Derbyshire, or the peak district is also stunning, but very dark and brooding. I know Ring of Bright Water. A local indian restaurant made a curry by the same name, they said it was like a Vindaloo only a little otter. 🙂 Looking forward to reading more of your posts.



    September 22, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    • Hi. Otter! That is so funny! I have a poem coming up that mentions Lindesfarne… how can I write about places I have never seen? I have seen the causeway you mention in photos. You are lucky to be nearby. Jane


      jane tims

      September 22, 2011 at 8:18 pm

  2. I love the idea of wearing the world on your finger…we are all doing that in a small way. It’s funny how if you don’t live by the shore you seek it routinely, and if you live near the shore (as I do) I seek freshwater systems and the forest for that same new nature connection.
    I look forward to your posts everyday!



    September 22, 2011 at 11:59 am

    • Hi. Wearing the world on your finger is a huge responsibility and you are right… when I think about it, we all need to respect the world as if it is under our personal care. Glad you like the post! Jane


      jane tims

      September 22, 2011 at 8:14 pm

  3. Nova Scotia makes me think of the clearances in Scotland. I’d love to visit one day. The sea looks beautiful. There are many empty valleys in Scotland where people, once lived before moving to Canada. I’ve visited many such places walking through the ruins. All very sad. Although I’m pleased now to be following you.



    September 21, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    • Hi. I would love to visit Scotland. My anscestors (Clarks) were from Insch. I first learned about Scotland through Gavin Maxwell’s books, especially “Ring of Bright Water’. You are lucky to be nearby. Northern England and the Pennines are also interesting to me because I have studied the history of Lindesfarne, and my (Spavold) family has roots in Derbyshire (South Pennines?). I can now learn more by seeing your paintings and drawings. Jane


      jane tims

      September 21, 2011 at 5:21 pm

  4. Beautiful poem Jane. Also like the analogy “I was wearing the whole earth as a ring on my finger”



    September 21, 2011 at 9:00 am

    • Hi Denis. Thanks, but what a responsibility! I’m sorry you took your blog down. Reconsider, if not now, in days to come….Jane


      jane tims

      September 21, 2011 at 4:59 pm

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