On the Beach at Dawn and Dusk

Ernest Knowles ©August 1977

It’s the second time today that I have come to the sea, 

to walk and listen to the waves.

The first time was early, when the windless sunrise was misted and mute

and the sand was cool underfoot.

I walked alone, still sleepy with hair that was tousled, not by the wind, 

but the pillows on my bed.

But as the sun rose, the noises of seagulls frantic for food

and people scrambling for space,

and hot sand that was too warm on my bare feet,

Prompted my return to my cottage, to rest and to write.

But now it’s early evening,

with the sun not yet set below the horizon.

The seagulls and the people are gone,

and the sand’s partly spent warmth, soothes my bare feet.

I sit on a dune near where I walked this morning,

and the stiffening sea breeze

has taken the sharp edges from my earlier footprints,

and left only cups instead.

And curved sea grasses, looping slowly on the face of the dune,

have cut smooth arcs into the sand.

And the sun, now sinking into its reddening home,

casts warm shadows onto the back of my dune.

I lay back and look at the brightening stars,

and listen to the surf,

now seen only by the moon’s light as the waves break.

I am still alone, but now greatly at peace.