by Neil Creighton

Somewhere there are dark clouds.
Somewhere the oppressor grief adds his heavy weights.
Somewhere there is war, or struggle, or suffering.

But not here.

Here you can see the mild sun
shining in a cloudless sky.
The moving river seems perfectly still,
filled with floating reflections.
A man from long ago
reclines on the sand, a rod in his hand,
although he doesn’t care if nothing bites
and a little fair-haired boy, his youngest,
kneels near him laughing in pure childish delight.

Let me fill in some things you cannot see.
To the right is the boulder-filled breakwater
where the river empties into the incessant sea.
To the left a little fleet of trawlers
sit quietly moored to a jetty.
Hidden too, but fixed in memory
and fundamental to the scene,
are his other children, playing in the sand,
laughing and splashing in the shallow water.

Hidden too is the woman, his wife,
who seeing the moment and capturing it, said:

Here. Take this gift and carry it with you.
See what joy is.
Know how it is made of small, inconsequential moments.
Cherish it. Always remember,
no matter what comes or what clouds descend,

this still, blue day,
lying on this sand, rod in hand,
while the children splash and play.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Fishing with my youngest, Tim, 1982.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I used the photo to trigger my memory of this moment. It came back so strongly.

Creighton Bio Photo1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Neil Creighton lives in a small village northwest of Sydney, Australia. His work as a teacher of English and Drama brought him into close contact with thousands of young lives, most happy and triumphant but too many tragically filled with neglect. It made him intensely aware of how opportunity is so unequally proportioned and his work often reflects strong interest in social justice. He has had poems published in The Second Genesis: An Anthology of Contemporary World Poetry, Prosopisia, and other online journals. He is a contributing editor at Verse Virtual, and blogs at Wind of Flowers. Poems by Neil Creighton.