The Island started as a short memoir that I posted in December, 2019. Early this year, I reworked The Island as a poem and posted it again. I then decided to enter it in a competition sponsored by the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets. I made a few changes and to my amazement, The Island was chosen, along with the works of many other Wisconsin poets, to be part of the Fellowship's 2021 calendar. The theme of the competition was "Home". At the time the theme was announced, I doubt anyone realized just how much time we were all going to spend at home, or how we might long for the places we think of as home but were unable to visit because of the pandemic. For the third, and I promise the last, time, here is The Island.
1970, reporting to naval duty.
Young, newlywed, possessions packed into a car.
Midwesterners, hadn’t even known Georgia had a coast.
Paint-peeling shacks. Tall, proud pines,
Then winding through marshes to the island.
Dunes, spiraling sea grass, long, wide, white beach.
Immense space, sky huge and blue, sunlit water.
Long-legged birds playing with crashing waves.
Salty spray. Wind roaring. Hearts filling.
Didn’t know we would walk this beach
for hours, talking, planning, growing;
drive off island late one night, return as a family of three;
stroll in soft twilight, the ocean lulling a baby to sleep.
Didn’t know we would someday
yearn for this place,
returning in reality and daydreams,
pulled by the tides.