Along the Shining Sea and other poems, by Clarissa Jakobsons





Along the Shining Sea

Cumulus pockets of abandon hover

over waves. High tide churns seaweed tufts

close to my chair and feet. I sit on stones


listen to the ocean breathe, watching a seal

drift past. Low flying, double-breasted

cormorants head toward the dilapidated


pier where several posts remain.

My Canadian friends left this morning, packed

their van by 8 am, kids strapped to back seats


with stuffed sharks and 120 plastic critters in a box.

Four-cormorants drift, open mouths anticipating

a free meal. I miss my new little friends,


6-year-old Clare and 8-year-old Eliza.

Last night, free hugs and kisses filled old bodies

with warmth. Clare called me the pretty one,


Grandma watched, thankful for her first embrace.

Live well, my lovelies. Catch the sails and check-out

the horseshoe crabs on shore. Sleep safe


tucked in clouds. Listen to the waves at your feet.

You don’t have to touch bottom when you swim,

just kick,

kick, and kick.


Listen to the Great Emptiness

Can you hear the tide turn its head at Sippewissett

Two ocean sunsets lost

forever chased by Hurricane Earl.

The geese are not crying.


Falmouth shoppers scurry shopping carts

instead of the sea. I flee Buzzards Bay, Bourne.

Along Route 86 and 17, the Southern Tier Expressway

past Albany, Binghamton, Corning, New York.


In a far field, cows and horses cast shade

and Angus nestle like crows.

Evening Primrose opens a window,

a promise. Water


lilies tighten under darkening sky

cold rains dampen feet.

Curled hay, bundled and tied,

full streams ahead.


Suddenly, Lake Erie appears

as an ocean cradling its own light.

My fingers loosen grip, a seashell falls—


Originally published in The Tower Magazine, UK


Somewhere Between Heaven and the Heron 

The call of the running tide is clear,
a wild call that cannot be denied
—John Mansfield

There’s something to be said

about the wind waving in the ocean

rinsing shells that nag the traveler

upset by cell phones wailing,

sea gulls screeching, or men

shearing leaves at dawn.


Quartz sand blows across his face,

the slight sting reminds of breath

where sea salt drips to nourish sand,

black-eyed Susans, sea oats,

and a few Palmetto palms.


Somewhere between heaven

and the heron there is a song.


Eternity Meets the World’s Beginning

He departs as swift as his arrival, our minutes a fond memory. A gift. Return tomorrow, egret, I’ll serve a fresh plate of beef Wellington next to the shells. We’ll speak of the past, herald desires to the sky and wink with a smile.

Like a poem, his plumage flows in wind, spiral tufts crowning head. Toes stretch into still-wings. I wrestle the urge to stroke his down, hunted years past almost to extinction for feathery hats. Today, we share this space, this air. This pure-white charmer preens like a tightrope walker balancing on a toothpick. Bright yellow-basket feet, one tucks suspended from sight. His head nestles into the soft pillow of his back, ever-present, watching every move.

I sneak Mother-May-I steps into hotel room for a Canon camera. He inches toward the door concentric eyes zoom onto a plate of empty shells cleansed of salt drying in never-fading brilliance. Quickly, I close the door and snap 100 snowy egret photos.

Within a wink the white moon perches on the rail overlooking beach gulf sand where eternity meets the world’s beginning.

I am.

The Gulf Between Us

His plumage wades through black seas:
tufted crown still wings, toothpick legs
glaze mordant red. His beak stabs my gut.

I turn off the news.

Creatures great and small
covered in the doom and sludge
of sleep. He swallows
tar balls thinking food.

—Clarissa Jakobsons, Aurora, Ohio, teaches art and writing courses at a local community college. Her art has been exhibited widely. Recently she enjoyed a Fine Arts Work Center artist residency and is working on a book of poems. Visiting Cape Cod during her college years instilled in Jakobsons a love for the ocean though without her quite knowing why it felt like home. When her daughters visited Lithuania of her childhood and sent photos of the Baltic dunes, she immediately understood the connection—the sea harbors a special place in her DNA; it is why she curls toes in the sand.

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