White Wood Houses

peonies29 July 2016

The white wood houses
sat clustered above the beach
like giant peony bushes, abloom,
waiting to be cut
and gathered into a bouquet.

They sat atop more or less
square slabs of rock,
dark grey, in the fog-heavy
morning.  Lights glowed
from several windows
betraying early risers.

Dawn had happened,
but not to the visible eye.
I could only sense the sounds,
and aromas, of eggs frying
in buttered cast iron skillets.
I knew enamel coffee pots would be
holding scalding coffee;
and thick white slabs
of bread, toasted crisp,
would shine with slathered
butter in a melting ooze.  Jeweled jam
would sit jarred on the table;
in another jar the trapped
sunlight of marmalade.

At several of the tables prayers
would still be said,
before eating commenced.
They were not religious people,
but respectful.  They sensed
something greater than themselves
existed, proof of which was
what they were eating.
Nature had provisioned their larders.
That it was, and for their sustenance,
was greater than themselves.
Why them, at all,
they could not answer.
And so they spoke
to the mystery in prayer.

Dawn burned clear the fog,
making visible the bay,
and lit, brilliantly, the houses
dawn made bouquet of.
The slabs of rock dried,
and turned a lighter grey.
The beach edge wore a blue
escalloped collar of waves
it kept finicking with.

Overturned flat-bottomed boats,
lying in a row,
appeared as though left there,
at some point in the night,
by the sea.  These, too, bore purpose,
a purpose greater
than the people in the houses
who would upturn them,
and from them fish the shallows.

The fish would be there.
The sea would see to that.
There would be enough
to feed hunger enough.
The depths in the shallows were, also,
greater than the people.

Like petals falling from peony blossoms,
people began to depart the houses
to begin the day: Children,
to the schools in the town;
adults, to offices, and to shop.
Several of the older men descended
the rocks to the beach to the boats
they would row to the shallows.

Petals afloat on the water,
they would appear,
petals adrift on the tides,
which is what they had been,
all along, the clustered white
wood houses, atop the slabs of rock,
peony bushes growing wild
the wind had loosed petals from
and blown onto the water,
which is what had planted the idea
in my imagination in the first place.

Philip Kuepper
(17 July 2016)

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