Poem: Beach at Portici (The Beach Dwellers), by Rachel Lewis

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Beach at Portici (The Beach Dwellers)

The midday sun flattens and beats

the shore-dwellers into hot-white stasis;

above the empty flagstaff,

leaden flecks in the efflorescent clouds

promise a rainstorm

to the sea-bathers below.

An ancient watchtower

crumbles into the dark sands,

persisting stairs now home to

verdant salt-nourished moss

and adonic sunbathing nudes.

In the soft impression

of an iridescent earthen oasis

lounge the sentinels of the shore—

reverse sirens of Sirenum scopuli.

They’ll not let the aquanauts stray from the shallows.

The pastel ladies, coifs and coils

burnished to bright copper,

poise with needlepoint and parasol.

Corseted by the heat, sweat runs through

sailcloth petticoats and stockings.

One shades her eyes with a pale hand—

her hat nor parasol will do for the task.

Concealed among the strokes

of siccative oil and pigment,

children pick flowers—once tyrian silk,

now faded to soft pink by the bleaching sun.

The rumpled parasol lady steals

a long glance to the unbound waters

past the soil-sands, shielded by her shading hand,

and weaves a strategy to continue

her sirenic calling where the brave seafarers

are haloed with fizzling sea foam

and bodies are freed from encasing civility.

  • <p>Poetry lines for Beach at Portici (The Beach Dwellers) by Rachel Lewis</p>