San Francisco Bay Park, Dusk

Written By

By Carol Barrett

Adjunct faculty, Creativity Studies Program
Saybrook University

For my friends at Saybrook University


Pink clouds camp out along the far shore.

They are the homeless ones, who live here.


Roots of trees ripple the path, trunks roiled

at the base, as if with great cancer. They lift


their thin arms overhead, and survive.

Egrets bury their bony beaks in wet sand.


Gulls prance near the water line, tracing

the squiggles and bends. They have grown


used to the rolling thunder of planes,

which slide through the clouds like pages


of a fairy tale, turning in the leaf-light

breeze.  Here and there, planted markers


denote public shore, reminding us

each one is free to be here, each


free to travel to a new world. Inside

a grand hotel, rafts of students gather


to begin their journey, protected,

for now, from uncertain winds.


They are flying visions, faint as first

stars. They are massaging dreams


in rooms where teachers listen, pause,

laugh, and cry, circling the heart’s compass.


When they touch their fingers together

like the partnered bridge of Virginia Reel


memories swell -- the seventh wave,

sudden, full. Now they are breakdancing


twists and turns of the mind. Already,

visions are dressing themselves


in clay or silk, blue feathers, or beads.

This is a place of launch.  Few here


call this city home. We have dropped

our moorings, let the waves be guides. 


We have come from the everglades,

from long winters in Kansas, the fog


of Seattle lights, the high desert

where Coyote howls at the moon.


We have come knowing there is no

return, only the moment


when the curled bark of an old

madrone peels itself loose


and the tree and the seeker are one.




 This poem was originally published in Forage.