The Heron’s Nest Award
receding tide the gasps of little shells
We are drawn to liminal zones: the edge of a gorge; a clearing in the forest; a mountain peak; margins of the sea. What is it that attracts us to such places?
Perhaps we seek a fresh sense or experience of space. In these places we stand at the threshold of “here” and “there,” and maybe we can hope to find some intimation
of a greater whole where our surroundings and selves add to one.
Or perhaps we seek a fuller sense and experience of time. Years ago I grew up in a town called Bay Shore, situated on the Great South Bay of Long Island in eastern New York State.
Much of my early life was spent beside or on the water, both in recreation and for summer employment as a commercial clam digger. I return to the Great South Bay every
now and then to commune with the past . . . and especially with the memory of my mother who loved the water and bequeathed that love to me. (Issa may have felt a similar connection
in an earlier time and place: (When I see the ocean, / Whenever I see it, / Oh, my mother!) – trans. R.H. Blyth.
Is it possible to stand at the edge of a great body of water and not wonder about the great beyond and one’s own place in the greater scheme?
We know that the seasons and tides move in cycles. But as light drains from day and as seascape turns to soundscape, it’s difficult to regard time as other than linear,
diminishing, and terminal. In its form, sound effects, and phrasing, Sandra Simpson’s big-hearted poem honors little lives that ebb (as must all) but still matter.