A Pocket of Resistance: Crying Jag

i do not understand how, when i am working continuously to clear out and organize papers, photos, computer files, and niches holding an unknown number of things, why the piles keep getting higher.

When i completed my Navy active duty, i was excited because two-year, even four-year tours never gave me enough time to do all of the things i wanted to do to make my command permanently better. This included many, many, regulations and instructions which needed to be either tossed or streamlined (after all, the Navy is a bureaucracy too). So i thought i would have time to put things in order.

But my task continues, apparently unending. And yesterday, i found a poem, not properly filed, from 1984.

A month or two before, Blythe, my daughter, had returned to her mother in Austin after several weeks with us. It was the first time she had spent time with Maureen and me after our marriage. It was in our wonderful home in Ponte Vedra Beach. i dont’ think there are many things much sadder than a man having to say goodbye to his daughter, regardless of the circumstances. Then several months later, i was thinking about missing her and i walked the half-mile from our house to the beach. It rained and inspired me to write the poem. i wrote this later while my ship, the U.S.S. Yosemite, was on local operations off the coast.

crying jag

crying jag;
pelicans, swirling
low over cresting waves
a painting in the morning mist
burns through,
no discernible edge yet,
the lone man on the beach
walks where
the ocean folds back upon itself;
the man with a gray sweater
protecting against the late fall moisture,
trousers rolled knee-length,
shoes in one hand,
turns with his free hand shading his eyes
to return the pelicans’ gaze;
the wizened face tightens;
tears well up and roll
down the creases in his cheek;
darker clouds overhead
commence showering
pelicans and man;
the pelicans, if they cared,
could no longer tell
the man was crying.


7 thoughts on “A Pocket of Resistance: Crying Jag

  1. As usual, beautifully written, evocative of the love all fathers feel for their children, especially germane to me today because I said goodbye to my beautiful Sarah yesterday after an all too brief weekend visit as she is returning to her duty station in London today. Unhappily I do not have an ocean and a beach to walk and reflect.

    1. Ahh, but you have a good heart and have understanding and two-way love. That is enough to get through the sadness.

      And if you need an ocean and beach for walking, we have a guest room, and the ocean and beach are close enough we can see them from our hill.

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