by Reed Venrick 

Circles of the Sea

The Eye was the first circle(Emerson)

Those last days of summer, building
a sandman for the last time, before
September’s school, soon to begin—
when the child sees something,

she standing, leaping up from
the sand to run to the surf
to gaze out at a cruise ship,
passing miles beyond the reef.

The mother, sitting behind, lying
easy in her lounge chair, stays
to the shade of the coconut
palm, leaning low from a hurricane.

She watches her child gaze out
toward the distant, passing ship,
and  the girl reaches out a hand,
trying to grasp the image,
not perceiving the size of scale.

Many seasons have passed, but
the mother remembers when she
was the child, and she feared
that ships would fall over.

Perceptions may be true, she
whispers in the breeze, but some-
times the eye sees one image
and the mind knows another.


Many hours pass before the moon
casts shadows through the fronds,
hanging low to the beach sand.

The mother and daughter,
hand in hand, stroll along the
“playa” as they seek a restaurant
in a sea-side town.

They do not witness the high tide
at 10:32 p.m. when the surf rushes
in, eroding the sandman that the daughter
worked to build all afternoon.

Neither will know that the leaning
palm, where the mother rested all
afternoon, dropped a coconut into
the high tide, where concentric

circles now form and spiral
out to create another horizon,
that will, with time, reach a shore,
on another island in the ocean,

where a child will leave her sand
castle and run into the surf, and gaze out
to sea, realizing that horizontal
lines circle round.

Remembering Camus

Wrote, as I recall—there is but one
truly philosophical problem—suicide.

Suggesting the basic question for
the human kind is “to be or not to be,”

yet on this issue,  we must consider Jung,
who instead insists the basic philosophical question

is to decide: Are we linked to the infinite design
and if so, perhaps we’ll do this again,

or are we a branch on a tree, fated to be
chopped off to become a grain of salt in

the sea or rather a seed blessed to fall
in the waves —as a message floating to new continent.