At Minus Tide

At a minus tide

the shore looks bare like

an old knuckled-handed woman

whose breasts have shriveled up

whose belly now hangs

all sagging skin 


The sea gulls peck

crabs at the water’s edge

below a bright green line of kelp

And down the beach the diggers

lug buckets of horse-clams

and plump cockles


The sun is warm

tho the Sound’s breeze

still carries a chill of the snow

visible on high Cascade peaks

seen through the haze

off to the northeast


It was just yesterday

I saw your ample surf

pounding my rock-walled shore

tearing away the sheets of dawn

as if to flood estuaries

as yet undiscovered


They say the moon

pulls the tide in & out

bewitches the lunatic in us all

till we believe all that we see

and see but the half of

what we believe



About Peter Notehelfer

I'm a retired people person who now finds the time to watch the little details of the world without worrying about being watched by anyone . . . I live on an Island north of Seattle with my wife named Ellen, a yellow dog named McGee, a yellow cat named Gatzby, and four fine chickens . . . I read fiction, bake bread, smoke salmon, and fish whenever the weather allows . . . Oh, and yes, I try to write a poem every day simply to avoid senility!
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6 Responses to At Minus Tide

  1. SalvaVenia says:

    The last three lines – simply gorgeous!


    • Thank you . . . You always leave the most gracious comments!


      • SalvaVenia says:

        Poetry is important, I feel. And it should be appreciated, if it generates such pearls. We as a reader only see and digest the endproduct. What do we know about the plights and struggle of the poet to find that very form in which he later presents his innermost to the public? Therefore, if I like something, it is a matter of civility to comment. :)


      • SalvaVenia, I do not take your grace lightly! You are a critical thinker and a very good communicator, and I value your comments more than words can say. Yes, a poet struggles like a woman in labor to give birth to a thought, but like that woman holding the newborn in her arms, she does not remember the labor . . . Or so at least my wife as told me . . . Thank you again for reading my blog . . . Vielen Dank!


  2. not to be read by any old woman


    • Ha! Nature abounds with images begging metaphors of our fading glory! Low tide might actually be an immage to complement some of the older women AND men I know . . . Naked we come into the world; naked we will leave – and not usually a pretty sight . . .


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