Seaside Town

Helen Barnard


High summer. Flowers ricochet around tiny yards.
Colors stun. Bee balm and roses vie for most beautiful.
Houses crowd close together.

Hot streets, narrow in old part of town, close together.
Wider in new. Rickshaws. Bear-baiting. Maybe.

Wide beach at low tide. Coffee smells. Shells.
Boats out in the harbor, some working ones.
Sailboats punctuate a horizon, against breakwater.

Break of day, high clouds, wind comes up at noon.
Dies in the evening, but late, as people walk home.

Walking home in a crowd, not with anyone.
Thinking of my life and how I have partially wasted it.
I am not Rilke. He said it with such excitement.

What is the point of being excited here?
The tide pulls this way and that. I am what I am.

I’d like to both spring forward and fall back.
Like the grey-shingled houses, I’m weathered.
Like the running dragon, I’m on my feet.


Helen Barnard retired a number of years ago as Senior Editor of Country Music Magazine. Her work has appeared in The New Republic, Barrow Street and Fulcrum. She lives in Westport, Connecticut.