Excerpt from "Mansion Beach"

by Elizabeth Spires


At noon, in the too bright light, watchful,

looking too hard, we saw the scene turn dark

and lost the children for a moment, waves

 

crashing around them. Shadow blended with shadow,

the sun inside a cloud, and then the children

were restored to us, our worst fears a hallucination.

 

All afternoon their castles, poor and proud,

rose and fell. Great civilizations were built,

came to an end, the children mighty lords, their castles

 

only as small as we are to the stars and starry structures.

The day was infinite for them, time stretching

to the farthest horizon, the sun their overlord.

 

But how to reconcile these summer days washing away

with our need to commemorate, to hold onto?

They knew. And so they sang a song tuneless and true,

 

admitting no fixed point, no absolute, words

overheard and blurred by great winds blowing in,

a rhyme or round for a time such as we live in:

 

The world is made, knocked down, and made again!