Blessed is the beach, survivor of tides.
And blessed the litter of crown conchs and pen shells, the dead
blue crab in all its electric raiment.
Blessed the nunneries of skimmers,
scuttering and rising, wheeling and falling and settling, ruffling
their red and black-and-white habits.
And blessed be the pacemakers and the peacemakers,
the slow striders, the arthritic joggers, scarred and bent under
their histories, for they're here at last by the sunlit sea.
Blessed Peoria and Manhattan, Ottowa and Green Bay, Pittsburgh,
And blessed their children.
And blessed the lovers for they shall have one perfect day.
Blessed be the dolphin out beyond the furthest buoy,
slaughtering the bright leapers,
for they shall have full bellies.
Blessed, too, the cormorant and the osprey and the pelican
for they are the cherubim and seraphim and archangel.
And blessed be the gull, open throated, screeching, scolding
me to my face,
for he shall have his own place returned to him.
And the glossy lip of the long wave shall have the last kiss.
Robert Dana (1929–2010)
Speaking of recently deceased poets, Robert Dana, a fomer poet laureate of the state of Iowa and a long-time professor of English and poet-in-residence at my alma mater, passed away earlier this month. I knew him only slightly, and I never took one of his classes, but I did like his poetry.