Garfield Cemetery

The tide has come in this morning.

Across the channel, England recedes,

nearly obscured in a political fog.

Here, on the coast of Brittany,

the surf laps against the beauty

of the Iroise beach, stretching

itself as a lazy cat might do

in the still-sleepy light

of the just-awakened sun,

and the fishing waves bring in

their morning catch, huge feline eyeballs

encased in petroleum-derived plastic,

and, looking into those glaring globes,

I feel a certain nostalgic sadness

mixed with fears of global warming

and the likely destruction of our planet.


Tristan found the same thing yesterday,

Claire and Simon, the day before;

the discoveries rang in our ears

like the hell’s-bells-on jangling

of a novelty telephone from the 1980s.


The tide–read this stanza metaphorically–

once delivered organically-sourced,

environmentally-friendly products,

like driftwood and such, that kept us

aligned with the then-robust natural world,

but now its dredgings render the eternal

waste of reckless overconsumption.


Hey you, whom I can’t quite

commit myself to loving

but actually do rather like,

let’s at least be good to each other,

and maybe go out to that new

Italian place to drink red wine

and  eat lasagne, because

the brave new world has shown

itself cowardly and mean,

all its promises broken.

And here we are on this lovely beach,

even here assaulted

by the detritus of popular culture

molded in orange plastic.


Copyright 2019

T. Allen Culpepper