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The Beachcomber, a Poem

John is a freelance writer, ghostwriter, storyteller, and poet. He always tries to include a message or social commentary in his writing

The Beachcomber

Ever searching for that special solitude,

That secluded stretch of beach,

Unmarked by footprints in the sand

Untouched by, and ultimately -

Unspoiled, by man.


The beachcomber does not need to socialise,

To converse or interact with another human soul

He seeks to just be one with nature,

Thriving in his solitary world.


He knows the phases of the moon,

And it’s effect on ocean waves.

At low tide when the sea recedes

He combs the beach for driftwood,

Or bits and pieces of sea-worn glass.


These treasures will adorn

His hidden palace behind the dunes,

A tossed together shack

In blind materialistic eyes.


A man of basic needs,

He asks little of society.

A net or crab-pot fashioned by his hands

From debris - another man’s junk

Provides fine seafood cuisine.


In a small garden plot

He grows vegetables from seed.

And barters with a nearby orchard

For the occasional fruit treat.


He wanders the beach shirtless and tanned,

Straw hat and battered denim shorts his only attire,

Picking up the occasional shell that catches his eye

Or a stranded star fish that needs returning to the water.


A small furry dog - a bitzer - once a stray

Tags long obediently by his side,

Chasing the occasional gull or crab for fun.

This is his world -

Why would he want anymore?

Background

I spent much of my childhood and teenage years either living near the beach or pending most of my weekends and spare time there. You may not believe this, but I did dream of a life as a beachcomber when I grew up.

Of course, this never came to fruition. Parents, for some reason, don’t embrace “beachcombing” as a viable career for their offspring. So, it just remained an unfulfilled dream and became a nice subject for this poem. I hope you enjoyed it.

© 2019 John Hansen

Comments

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on May 21, 2019:

Thanks for reading another of my poems Alicia. I am glad that you can relate to this as well. I am a beachcomber at heart.

Alyssa from Ohio on May 21, 2019:

This poem really speaks to my soul! That sounds like my type of lifestyle!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on May 01, 2019:

Hi MsDora, it really is a chosen lifestyle for a few. Look at all the time it would allow me to write poetry :) thanks for reading.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 01, 2019:

Never thought this could be a lifestyle, but I bet you'd still be an excellent poet. Thanks for another lesson in poetry.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 29, 2019:

Thank you, Mark, your comment is greatly appreciated. Oh, to be truly free.

Mark Tulin from Santa Barbara, California on April 29, 2019:

Beautiful poem, John. He certainly does represent the spirit of freedom and a Thoreauian connection with nature.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 29, 2019:

Haha Eric, you have tried it all. What a life, even if just now and then. Good to see you still regular comb the beach with your kids. Cheers.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 29, 2019:

Glad you enjoyed this Shauna. Thanks for taking the little trip into my dreams. I have encountered a couple of real beachcombers in my time. I know a local council were trying to have one moved on but he had a small shack near the beach and it had been his home for so many years. I think public outcry allowed him to stay.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 29, 2019:

Hi Brenda, so glad my words formed a picture for you. I would love to retire to the beachfront. When I become a famous author maybe haha.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on April 29, 2019:

Have you been reading my diary? LoLs. Back in the seventies my ex-wife left me. No I mean in Mazatlan so I could hang out and beach comb. Lived in a tent for a month. I suppose some people have to work. Now I beach comb at least once a month with my kids.

I am reading this at least 10 more times.

(By the way I was lousy at it)

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on April 29, 2019:

John, I did enjoy this. What a life beach-combing could be! I suppose there are a few out there. The rest of us got caught up in what society expects of us, especially if we choose to have children.

For a few moments, I was as free as your alter-ego. Thanks for taking on this peaceful trip, John!

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on April 29, 2019:

I enjoyed this one Jodah. You painted a picture in my mind.

Oh...how i miss those days on the beach. I still have my collection of seashells and fossils.

Maybe you could retire on the beach front...peaceful existence to write.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 29, 2019:

Haha, Ruby....yes I would write poems in the sand but unfortunately, they'd get washed away with the tide. Thank you for reading.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on April 29, 2019:

It must be nice to not have any responsibilities, but I can't imagine living that lifestyle. I loved your poem. I bet if you were a beachcomber you would write poems in the sand. lol

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 29, 2019:

I am glad this poem brought back memories beachcombing with your Grandad, Lorna. Thank you so much for your kind words.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 29, 2019:

We all need to stay out of the sun more than we used to, but some of us more than others Flourish. Offseason would work best though. I honestly don't think beachcombing would have been a lucrative career, but I could still dream.

Lorna Lamon on April 29, 2019:

Your poem brought back memories of beachcombing with my Grandfather in Ireland. The driftwood we found he carved into the most beautiful objects and when I look at them I think of this very peaceful time. You have a rare gift John - thank you for sharing.

FlourishAnyway from USA on April 29, 2019:

I enjoy walking the beach looking for interesting finds but because I need to stay out of the sun I don’t get to do it much. Offseason at the beach is the time for me. It’s neat that you wanted to pursue beachcombing as a career. I wonder how that would work.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 28, 2019:

Thank you for a great comment PoetikalyAnointed. My parents once talked about moving to an island to live and I did all I could to encourage them but they never went through with it sadly. He I agree with what you say about the ocean’s attraction.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 28, 2019:

Haha Peggy, I still dream a lot. I think being a part-time beachcomber may be a nice alternative. What do you think.?

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 28, 2019:

Good to see you Manatita. Having money does not have to detract us from living simply and Kipchoge is obviously a fine example. Thank you for reading and leaving a generous comment.

PoetikalyAnointed on April 28, 2019:

This is Beautiful, John!

I recently read an article about beachcombing and it summed up the life like your poem.

I can understand your parent's disapproval just like I can understand your fascination of the life. It's a great thing that you didn't lose your respect or adoration either.

I have love of the ocean/water myself. It's calming, free, yet wild. Love that!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 28, 2019:

Communing with nature is always refreshing and good for the soul. Being a beachcomber full-time has its allure, but also its downsides. At least you can still dream!

manatita44 from london on April 28, 2019:

Kipchoge won the London Marathon. He is a multi-millionaire. Yet his life is so simple!

There is tremendous power and beauty in the simplicity of your poem, my friend. Praise be!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 28, 2019:

Thank you for the insightful comment Brother Elijah. I felt that you would be able to reflate to this if anyone. While I was writing I actually thought of you at one stage. The truth seekers who put worldly possessions aside to only use what they need to sustain them. Yes, I suppose you would become a attuned to the weather and be able to “feel” things like tornados brewing. Thank you for reading, glad you enjoyed.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 28, 2019:

Yes, Linda, you make some good points. You would probably at times feel very lonely, especially at times of Ill health etc and leave behind no legacy when you go. Thanks for reading.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 28, 2019:

Oh I can imagine doing it, Bill, but if I haven’t by now I am afraid I never will. Glad you enjoyed this.

Elijah A Alexander Jr from Washington DC on April 28, 2019:

Brother John, the same thing can be said about "seekers of life's truth" except they, if/when allowed, continue to cross nation boundaries for picking up pieces of knowledge, eating from where it grows, wearing just enough to satisfy civilization's sense of decency and finding shelter from the storms wherever/whenever they can. However, Life's Truth Seekers' only constant companion is within themselves that people generally call god. They will befriend any life type and thank the plants that provide them their meals but otherwise, their only planting is tithe seeds their bodies didn't digest but tased through them in their elimination of the unused food ingested as the law of "reaping and sowing" require.

As for the storms, over time they learn to feel the nearness of storms and seek shelter if possible. I know because one clear day in New York City, 1981, I sat with a friend from Iowa visiting me from June until late August and I suddenly felt something that made me say "it feels like a tornado is somewhere" and the next morning's newspaper reported about that time of day one struck Long Island section.

So I can identify with and appreciate "The Beachcomber" because my childhood life's testimony, [bit.ly/elijahbirth], is what led to my following my heart's desire from which I will not stray from except at the guidance of my inner companion. So you have to know I enjoyed it.

Thanks and peace.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on April 28, 2019:

When I consider the hustle and bustle of our world today, this sounds like a little bit of Heaven. No worries, no responsibilities, no cares. But what a lonely existence. And when you die . . . nothing to indicate that you ever existed except for a shack built of detritus. A beautiful but sad poem, very well done.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 28, 2019:

It does have a certain charming appeal to it, doesn't it? I can't imagine actually doing it myself, but I understand why some do. Loved the poem.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 28, 2019:

Thank you, Pamela. Not many of us could do this as a full-time lifestyle...but to get away once in a while is what we can do to at least experience it.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 28, 2019:

I definitely enjoyed this poem. That life of solitude actually sounds good, at least for a period of time. I like to spend time alone in nature sometimes as it is so peaceful, no problems, a time to think and just enjoy your surroundings.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 27, 2019:

Yes, Lora, it is a common theme of people wishing they were brave enough to cast the norms and expectations of society aside and get back to the basics and exist with nature away from materialistic things.

For most of us, we never realise that desire. I am glad you enjoyed this poem. Your comments are always appreciated.

Lora Hollings on April 27, 2019:

The themes of this poem is a yearning to answer some of our most basic needs- to connect with nature and to be a free spirit. You did a wonderful job at conveying these ideas. To find a place where we can commune with nature and seek spiritual fulfillment there is something that many of us long to do but we neglect to do it as we get so saddled down by our busy lives, endeavoring to fill it with all those meaningless material objects and bigger homes that none of us really need and that, in the end, detract from our happiness and spiritual fulfillment. I really enjoyed your poem and my time with the beachcomber, John. Thank you.