The Beachcomber, a Poem

Updated on April 28, 2019
Jodah profile image

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

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There are treasures to be foundThe beachcomber seeks this...Never this...
There are treasures to be found
There are treasures to be found | Source
The beachcomber seeks this
The beachcomber seeks this | Source
...Never this...
...Never this... | Source

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?

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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



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    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      13 months ago from Queensland Australia

      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 Nichol profile image


      13 months ago from Ohio

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

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      14 months ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      14 months ago from The Caribbean

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

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      14 months ago from Queensland Australia

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

    • Mark Tulin profile image

      Mark Tulin 

      14 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

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

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      14 months ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      14 months ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      14 months ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      14 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      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)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      14 months ago from Central Florida

      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 profile image


      14 months ago from Washington Court House

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

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      14 months ago from Queensland Australia

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

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      14 months ago from Southern Illinois

      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

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      14 months ago from Queensland Australia

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

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      14 months ago from Queensland Australia

      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 profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      14 months ago

      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 profile image


      14 months ago from USA

      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.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      14 months ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      14 months ago from Queensland Australia

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

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      14 months ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • profile image


      14 months ago

      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 W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      14 months ago from Houston, Texas

      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 profile image


      14 months ago from london

      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!

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      14 months ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      14 months ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      14 months ago from Queensland Australia

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

    • The0NatureBoy profile image

      Elijah A Alexander Jr 

      14 months ago from Washington DC

      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, [], 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.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      14 months ago from Washington State, USA

      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.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      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.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      14 months ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      14 months ago from Sunny Florida

      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.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      14 months ago from Queensland Australia

      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 profile image

      Lora Hollings 

      14 months ago

      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.


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