Archives for posts with tag: ocean

manatee 1
The Manatees
by Michele Cuomo

We stopped and watched the manatees
along the shore of Lake Monroe

The water was the palest blue at first,
                                      almost white

The sky had low clouds to meet it
then yellow
and pink

A fin lifted and lowered
indolently sliced waves

A sleek raised and rounded back
                                      sidled back down

a ring remained on the water


then a snout
took a few gulps of air
like a dog sniffing in the snow

the water turned to ink

the streetlights came on
and still we stood
our bikes held on hips

I did not want to leave them
                         in the dark


PAINTING: Manatee mother and calf by VividSeaArt. Prints available at

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Seeing glimpses of manatees unexpectedly was a delightful moment—how glad I am we stopped and took it in.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michele Cuomo lives in Winter Springs, Florida.  Her poems have been seen in Raven’s Perch, Spillwords, and Silver Birch Press.

at fifteen my cousin steve and i were more like brothers
by Scott Ferry

we walked the quarter mile to the ocean
down magnolia street in august 630 pm
dive into the shorebreak at high tide tall and swift
each of us with one fin to kick into steep walls
and watch the curl upend and dish into a swirling oblong
the body a sliding wet light among the sunlit array
of bluegreygreenyellowwhite until the glass
of evening closed steaming in a puff of foam
and we half walked half swam back out for another
and we never got cold or tired
until the corners of the sky turned
tangerine and smoke and we exited
maybe a towel maybe not maybe sandals
maybe barefoot back to his house on hula circle
to shower off the sand in our shorts
and the sticky salt from the eyelashes
and then we would eat and eat
and eat

PHOTO: Two surfers at California beach, sunset by Trevor Gerzen on Unsplash. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I thought I would throw one in about immortality.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Scott Ferry helps our Veterans heal as a RN in the Seattle, Washington, area. His seventh book of poetry, The Long Blade of Days Ahead, is available from Impspired Press. More of his work can be found at

Ocean Questions
by Tom Lagasse

There will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.

As the five gyres of plastic expand will the king
mackerels and greater amberjacks shrug

And ask—Is this the ongoing cost of doing
business in today’s global economy?

Will their DNA become partially plasticized
like credit cards so they may survive without

Needing schools to intermingle and learn
From one another? Is there enough time

For dolphins and whales to create a new language
to communicate to their fellow mammals

A single hero casting a life preserver ring to
The drowning cannot save the ocean?

PAINTING: Fish by M.C. Escher (1942).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tom Lagasse’s poetry has appeared in Poetically Magazine, The Feminine Collective, Black Bough’s Poetry Freedom & Rapture and Dark Confessions; Faith, Hope, and Fiction; Silver Birch Press Prime Movers Series, Freshwater Literary Review, Word Mill Magazine, The Monterey Poetry Review, a half dozen anthologies, and more. He can be found at @tomlagasse (Twitter), @tom_lagasse (Instagram),, and  He lives in Bristol, Connecticut.

How to Return to Paradise
by Lisa Molina

Rhythmic pumping
whooshing womb wave
sounds crash upon the
darkening beach;

My toes sink slightly in soft sand;
White frothy foam washes up and clings to my legs.

I look up to the tiny sparkling eyes,
winking at me through
the onyx cover above.

Are they watching me
sparkle, wink, and shine?

As we gaze on each other,
I begin to spin.
As I turn turn turn,
the water begins to rise.

Rising up my calves, knees, thighs.

Up to my belly;
the scar that once connected
me to my mother’s womb,
and the belly that held my own babies.

It rises up over my breasts
that fed them warm milk,
and my heart still pulsing with life.

Feeling the soothing water
around my body and neck;

Throwing my head back as joyous
Laughter laughter laughter
Bursts forth from my mouth.

The stars and I still
shining on each other,
and Luna smiling down on me.

Louder laughter as the
nourishing waters of Eden
slowly climb
up up up
until my head is
covered completely;

My hair caressing my
face and shoulders.

My feet lift off the
floor of the Earth.

I’m floating,
in the

From whence all Life began.

My soul smiles.
It knows it
is safe

As it returns
to the depths
of Paradise.

PHOTO: Mermaid by Sergei Tokmakov, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote “How to Return to Paradise” as a way to help myself cope with many challenges of life during the past year. When I have anxiety, images and sounds of water, especially the beach, always help to quell my worries. Since I am unable to go to the beach, due to Covid, this poem enabled me to “go there” through writing poetry.

Molina copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: While not bingeing on her new favorite writer’s works, Lisa Molina can be found working with students with special needs, writing, singing, playing the piano, or marveling at nature with her family. She has lived in Austin, Texas, since earning her BFA at the University of Texas. Her poetry has been featured in Trouvaille Review, Beyond Words Magazine, Poems in the Afterglow, Sad Girls Club Literary Blog, Ancient Paths, The Poet Magazine, The Daily Drunk, Tiny Seed Journal, Down in the Dirt Magazine, with poems soon to be featured in Amethyst Review. You can read her poetry at

Tidal Stirrings
by Betsy Mars

We lay face-down on the beach,
masked faces in the water,
waiting for the next wave
to arrive, stirring up the sand:
an underwater snowglobe.
We were a part of it all:
the bubbles, the whirling,
anything that might surface
or arrive,
with each gently lapping tide.

Photo by Timo Wagner on Unsplash

MarsMaskPhoto copy

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:  I wrote this during NaPoWriMo as one of my 30/30 (poems/days). I was trying to find structure during this time and setting myself goals. I am generally a person who struggles to settle down, who likes to be of use, while also longing for downtime and solitude and focus to read and write. In the pursuit of my sanity, I enrolled in a free meditation course and have been trying to practice daily. I noticed that my breath reminded me of the gentle in and out lapping of the waves, and one night when I awoke in another anxious state, I tracked that thought and remembered when my children were young and they discovered that they could lie, belly-down, at the shoreline on the beach and discover a kind of magical world that erupted every time the water came in – all kinds of life coming up from the sand, as well as the bubbles and swirling sands brought in by the tide.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR Betsy Mars is an LA-based poet, photographer, and an occasional publisher. Her chapbook, Alinea  (Picture Show Press), was released in January 2019. She published the anthology Unsheathed: 24 Contemporary Poets Take Up the Knife through Kingly Street Press in October 2019. Her work has appeared widely online and in print. Find her on Facebook and on Twitter.

Girl in snorkeling mask dive underwater with coral reef fishes

The girl in the plastic mask
by Maria Nestorides

The plastic strap snaps into place onto the back of my head and I adjust the tension, so it fits comfortably. The glass on the front of the mask is a little hazy but the thought barely registers because my heart hammers, and I’m not sure whether it’s from exhilaration or fear. I adjust the snorkel so it’s pointing straight up like I’ve been taught, and survey the shimmering surface of the ocean, the water lapping around me in a welcoming caress. The slight scent of rubber and the pressure of the mask on my nose and around my eyes are new and strange.

I take my time and slowly submerge myself, then push downwards towards the seabed. Sunlight leaks through the ocean’s surface. I kick the water with my feet once, twice, propelling myself forward and, just like that, I find myself in a surreal, silent kingdom that hustles and bustles like a busy high street, one without any sound, like an old silent movie. The only thing I can hear is the amplified sound of my rhythmic breathing through the snorkel. Vibrant, brightly coloured marine creatures swim by, oblivious to my presence. I’m a visitor in their world but they allow me to witness their everydayness like I’m a part of it. Schools of yellow- and blue-striped fish move languorously through brightly coloured corals, and shadowy, slithering, sinister-looking eels slink by.

My flippers guide me through every nook and cranny of this underwater paradise, and I don’t leave until the skin on my fingertips has wrinkled like prunes and the mask has left an angry red mark around my eyes and nose. As I slosh through the shallow water towards the shore I look back wistfully. I promise myself I will be back. I will be back soon.

Photo by dmosreg (

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I was about twelve and living in Khor Fakkan (in the United Arab Emirates), a friend of the family offered to teach my sister and me to snorkel. This short piece is my first attempt to describe how that felt.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Maria Nestorides lives in sunny Cyprus with her husband. She has two adult children. She received an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University in 2011. Her short stories have appeared on The Story Shack, Inkitt, Red Fez, and Silver Birch Press. She also contributed a six-word memoir to the book Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak: by Writers Famous and Obscure, by Larry Smith and Rachel Fershleiser (Jan 6, 2009). Find her on Facebook and Twitter.


by Jen Waldron

Firsts of things are often the most memorable. The first piece I ever found could have ended in a very different way had I thrown it into the ocean, but I didn’t. I was a twelve-year-old girl walking along the shore to get away from it all. That was the day I found an emerald and declared green to be my favorite color.

A nearby beachcomber saw my unique find and explained to me what it was. Ordinary broken glass, once sharp and shiny, now transformed by the ocean into a smooth, frosty jewel. My first piece of sea glass. I was hooked.

Over many years, the hunt for sea glass has been therapy. One emerald led to a collection of thousands. Walking miles of coastlines and searching through sand and stones gives much time for reflection and renewal. Each trial and tribulation fading as I collect another small treasure.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My prized emerald (to the right of the penny) surrounded by an assortment of my other finds.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jen Waldron was born and raised in northern New England, and now resides with her husband of more than 30 years just outside sunny Atlanta, Georgia. When not working as a registered nurse, she spends her time writing and baking, and then baking and writing. Her published stories are based on personal memories and the humor in life. She is incredibly thankful for three wonderful sons and three adorable grandsons, none of whom has caused her a moment’s stress. She spends her vacations along a multitude of coastlines because she secretly wishes “sea glass hunter” were an actual occupation.

by Bokyung June

Let me find love
like the
Foam laced waves
folding gently
envelope me into
a silk embrace.

Love, be the waves
and I the shore
return to me, always.

At night the
tide stronger
forcing me to hold on

onto love
like the

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The first time I felt beautiful walking on the beach. (June 3, 2014 at Hermosa Beach, California.)

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My creative process first starts with clearing my mind and noting the things that happened that day. Bad things, good things — then I minimize them into a single word and try to write a poem off that singular word. Sometimes nothing comes of it, but sometimes it just flows. Either way I always feel glad I picked up that pen.

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bokyung June, also known as Ryan Sally, is a Los Angeles poet. Currently living on the border of Los Angeles County and the Inland Empire, she has grown to love and enjoy and respect the various cultures that make up the area. She aims to continue honing her craft as a writer and a performer and finds tremendous inspiration from the City of Pomona as well as trying to get in touch with the roots she had left behind at a young age in Korea.

sylvia cavanaugh
Sky View
by Sylvia Cavanaugh

          “That dolphin-torn, that gong-tormented sea”
                    From “Byzantium,” by William Butler Yeats

It was the Cape Cod tidal pool that
taught me I breathe air like the dolphins.
I had believed in my body before it was torn
from the sand floor by a fast rising tide that
tilted back my head in reflexive gasp, gong-
knell filling my brain. ‘Til a man saw my tormented
sky-bound eyes. He saved me from the salt blue sea.

PHOTO: The author, Cape Cod, Massachusetts (1966).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: We used to vacation at the Jersey shore, and I always loved going to the beach. One year, we went to Cape Cod, which felt wild and exciting. There was a warm pool of ocean water on the beach, which was fun to play in. Suddenly, the high tide came in and I found myself unexpectedly lifted from the ocean floor and set adrift. My body reflexively assumed the drowning person’s stance, and I stared helplessly at the deep blue sky of Cape Cod, until I was rescued. I still remember the trip fondly, and am very happy, now, to be living near the shore of Lake Michigan. I used the line form Yeats to create a Golden Shovel poem, because I love the way in which that line depicts the sea as dangerous.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Originally from Pennsylvania, Sylvia Cavanaugh has an M.S. in Urban Planning from the University of Wisconsin. She teaches high school African and Asian cultural studies and advises break dancers and poets. She and her students are involved in the Sheboygan chapter of 100,000 Poets for Change. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her poems have appeared in An Arial Anthology, Gyroscope Review, The Journal of Creative Geography, Midwest Prairie Review, Seems, Stoneboat Literary Journal, Verse-Wisconsin, and elsewhere. She is a contributing editor for Verse-Virtual: An Online Community Journal of Poetry.

AUTHOR PHOTO: Michigan Avenue, Chicago.

susan and me
Fish Dinner at the Beach
by Christine Potter

At first, it was architectural: breaded, oblong, the
color of cedar two by fours, from the wee Alaskan

wilderness of a rented cottage’s freezer. And I was
forbidden to erect fish stick log cabins on my plate,

using tartar sauce for mortar. Next, deep sea fishing—
my father and grandfather with new-caught baskets

of glitter and silver eyes. Lord, don’t TOUCH them!
my grandmother said, stooping to run something

white under the broiler: swordfish. It took ten years to
chew, and lemon just made it sour. Didn’t swordfish

have serrated-knife noses and fight underwater duels?
Seafood in my teens: wild paisley, hippie gems. Hot

pink shrimp. Octopus like purple fists. Iridescent
mussel shells black as turtlenecks. No lobster because

my father was allergic. It reddened his face and two
pimples bloomed on his forehead. You are growing

antennae, said my mother, her joke too dangerous
for me to laugh at. Now, sushi, tidy as a new ring

in its pillowed box. So why am I a bear, wading this
cold and noisy river? My mouth is full of salmon.

PHOTO: The author and her sister Susan next to a statue of Massasoit in Plymouth, Massachusetts (early 1960s).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “Fish Dinner At the Beach” started out during a National Poetry Month poem-writing spree with a group of online poet friends. I like to write poetry about being a child (same reason I like to write time travel YA fiction, actually). Also: I really, really like fish. My family went to Cape Cod when I was little to hit the beach, but also to eat fish. These days, my husband and I go to Nova Scotia for the same reason. So it was pure joy working on a poem about growing up from fish sticks into a sushi-eating bear-creature! Which reminds me that I have a little smoked Arctic char in the freezer and it’s time for lunch.

me and elvis

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Christine Potter is a poet and YA novelist who lives in the almost-exurbs of the lower Hudson River Valley. Her two full-length poetry collections are Zero Degrees at First Light (2006) and Sheltering in Place (2013). Christine’s poems have appeared in Rattle, Crab Orchard Review, American Arts Quarterly, Rain Town Review, Eclectica, The Literary Bohemian, The Pedestal, and Fugue. The first book of her young adult time-traveling series, Time Runs Away With Her, was released in the fall of 2015, and the next installment, In Her Own Time, is forthcoming from Evernight Teen.

AUTHOR PHOTO: The author with a statue of a young Elvis Presley (Elvis Presley Birthplace Museum, Tupelo, Mississippi).