The Poetry of All Things

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by Kevin Carrel Footer

Walking, I chanced upon this beach scene: a wooden spool, a stripped branch, an eroding cliff. It fascinated me, these leavings of nature and man. They had been gathered by tides in that beach-end, then placed by mankind (except the cliff which stood its ground) upright in the sand. This was the end of the beach where nudists and volleyball players gather.

But today was not a day for volleyball (and even less for nudists). It was a day made of thick fog and chilling gusts and fog horn soliloquies. San Franciscans have long ago learned to accept and even love their perverse summer weather. I myself get giddy when the fog rolls in. It makes for a lonelier, more contemplative beach and that is fine by me. My nature has been shaped by fog.

I stopped to take some photos. The roots of my fascination with this scene still elude me; I only know it to be a real thing, prophet of some hidden meaning later to be vouchsafed. Perhaps. I take note of it in a photo.

The poetry I cherish has less to do with words than with the things of life. I love words, too, but as things that hold a tangible, physical space in our world. They are not mere describers but protagonists that shape and create. A word is as real a thing as a spool of cable washed up on the shore. Just as things can become poetry. This scene is a small poem. The garbage bag that shows, the plastic pipe that shouldn’t be there, these are just the caveats and resigned sufferings of a world that yearns to make poetry from all the washed up things we are.


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