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January 27, 2023

Healing with Poetry

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Carl Sandburg said, “Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.”
This poem brings to life the echoes of my memories from warm and wonderful summer weekends spent on the north shore of Massachusetts with my family during my childhood.
My grandfather taught us to catch Atlantic silversides with a net in a technique called seining. Seine fishing is a style of that uses a net to surround a school of fish. The net is held vertically in the water with a weighted bottom edge, and the top floats with bobbers. In our case, we would each hold an end and capture the fish by encircling the sides around the school. Our goal was to catch enough for dinner. Never more.
The shadow of this memory beckons me to dance every single time.  This poem was intentionally written to be read in a way that hopefully reminds the reader, both in its visual presentation as well as the rhythm, of waves gently lapping at the shoreline, and at one’s legs, while wading on the beach.  A simple closing of my eyes and my senses spill over with the warmth of the sun on my skin. I lick my lips and can almost taste the salt…breathing in the swirling scent of ocean…bathed in gentle breezes with balmy saline whispers through my hair.
Poetry has a way of offering healing to those who seek it. Artful reflection of experiences, both painful and joyful, may allow greater depth of feeling and exploration of these moments. The intentional estrangement from my grandfather as an adult was, I believe, the healthiest choice for both of us. Honoring memories with him by plucking the love and humanity from particular milliseconds and placing them just so, with such care, to be seen and spoken and heard has served as a tender balm for remnants of regret.
Seining for Silversides
Wading knees
              deep in
                              brisk waves
gradual sloped
             shoreline lends
                             inconstant sand
mass slips
              away from
with each step
             while tickles and
                               flitters of
We plod along
              one stride for
                                him and
two for me
              guiding the
                             net between
us the
                             may be
one or one-
                             It matters not
for the prime
              catch of
                              the day is
             high spirits.
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Cyndy Dalton  |  Contribution: 4,335