nothing was what they said: not safety, not the sea.
Children, the Sandbar, That Summer
By Muriel Rukeyser
Sunlight the tall women may never have seen.
Men, perhaps, going headfirst into the breakers,
but certainly the children at the sandbar.
Shallow glints in the wave suspended
we knew at the breaker line, running that shore
at low tide, when it was safe. The grasses whipped
and nothing was what they said: not safety, not the sea.
And the sand was not what they said, but various,
lion-grained, beard-gold, grey. And blue. And green.
And each grain casting its shadow down before
childhood in tide-pools where all things are food.
Behind us the shores emerged and fed on tide.
We fed on summer, the round flowers in our hands
from the snowball bush entered us, and prisoner wings,
and shells in spirals, all food.
All keys to unlock
some world, glinting as strong as noon on the sandbar,
where men and women give each other children.