Poem: “Yellow Dress”

On Aug. 27, I was walking along a rocky beach near Biddeford, Maine. I had reflected for a bit on a giant boulder by the ocean.  I also needed a bit of time to dry out my sock after my left foot slipped into the water.  I sought an easier path to climb onto the road.  A glint of yellow caught my eye.  I walked up and found this.

A yellow dress lies on a rock at the beach in Biddeford, Maine, on Aug. 27, 2015.
A yellow dress lies on a rock at the beach in Biddeford, Maine, on Aug. 27, 2015.

A yellow dress.  I looked around, expecting to see the mistress of the dress.  But I was alone.  I picked up a corner to find the straps.  This is a real dress.  I put it down and looked at it.  Then verses came into my head.  I haven’t had any poetry running in my head in years.  I smiled and walked back to the spiritual center.

The next day with my retreat winding down, I returned to the dress and stared.  The verses still swirled in my head, coalescing into a structure.  I needed to write this down, I thought.

I returned to Boston and immediately wrote a draft of the poem.  I spent a few days, cleaning it up.

Here is the poem:

Why do you leave such a pretty thing behind?
Why do you leave such a pretty thing behind?

‘Yellow Dress’

Girl, why did you
leave your yellow dress behind
tangled with seaweed
lying on a rock
by the beach?

To frolic, to swim
to tease, to love,
to embrace life?

Your cares slip
into the foamy surf.
But consequences
never linger
in the surf.

Cling, claw, scratch
our rocky interiors
with our mistakes.

It’s too early
to discard
such pretty things.
What will happen
when true love arrives?

A love
true and never selfish
giving and never grasping.

Will you
leave that
behind
on the beach
to fade in the sun?

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