Thursday, March 17, 2011
Old Cape Cod
If you read "Stuff Jewish Girls Like" then you may have already read this.
I was the twelfth (and last) baby born to my Irish Catholic parents in Cape Cod, MA thirty-two years ago. This is why I am always referred to as "the baby" and I wouldn't wish it any other way. Below is a sestina I originally wrote in college, and revisited this past week for JG's guest blog post. Our writing assignment in college was to write a poem from another's perspective. I chose to pretend to be me, at the end days of my own life. There were many tears shed while I revised this poem--my Dad is still alive, but I only get to see him once or twice a year as I am landlocked in the midwest (for now). Without further ado...here is my sestina :)
Through the Eyes of a Sunset
a sestina poem by ACF
The ice cream dripped down my arm and onto the porch
as I sat beside my Dad on the old wooden swing.
We breathed the saltwater air and my Dad
told me stories about where the sun
goes after it sinks behind the deep ocean.
His eyes looked sad when he said it's never truly gone.
Sometimes, when July's ripe sun is setting, I'm reminded of what is gone
and of what remains. Memories of summer days with Dad linger on the porch
but the echo of what's truly eternal exudes from the crashing ocean.
And I'm left yearning for an afternoon talk about nothing with him on the swing.
His eyes looked a warmer shade of blue when the setting sun
would shine into them. I have the same pale blue eyes as my Dad.
I can remember looking up at my Dad
with excited child-like pride for him; and that pride isn't truly gone,
but it is different. Similar to the way the gentle warmth of the sun
comforts you differently through a window than it does when you're on the old porch,
lazily rising and falling with the creaking swing,
echoing the tides of the ocean.
I used to be so afraid of that ocean
unless I was held tightly by my Dad.
And even then, I preferred to be dry on the swing.
I would play until the sunshine was gone;
in the comforting embrace of my porch,
my small shoulders kissed by July's fiery sun.
Sometimes Dad and I would sing songs about the sun.
How sun-crystals dance like glistening lace on the face of the ocean...
I think he made the song up when he was little and would look out at the same horizon from the same porch
but not with me; with his brothers and his Dad.
His Dad was gone before I was born, but my Dad told and retold me all about their summers together on the same swing.
And my summer afternoons are retold to my children on the same swing.
It's all nurtured with the ebb and flow of life, the rising and falling of the sun,
because love, relationships, and memories--like the sun--will never truly be gone.
The salty, sandy nostalgia wafts warm memories to us with each crash of the ocean.
At least, that's what I was told by my Dad
when we were younger and would swing, talk, and sing on the porch.
And sometimes the sun brings me a smile as the breaking waves retell me childhood memories on the porch
But when my pale blue eyes rest on the empty porch swing,
My heart aches in knowing that when the sinking sun returns tomorrow, it won't bring me back my Dad.