Margaret Vidale


Beach World

On rare summer mornings our mother would drive
my brother and me to the beach.  We’d park in a
gravel lot, climb splintering wooden stairs and step

into a panorama of cream-colored sand, limitless
water and an enormous blue and puffy-white dome
high above us.  My brother and I would race into

this astonishing world, which operated under its
own liberating set of rules.  We were allowed to
spend hours chasing receding waves, gleefully

anticipating when they’d arched back and start
chasing us.  Icy splashes stung our legs, tongues
of foam swallowed our feet and salty spray

drenched us.  After a lunch break, my brother would
settle near our mother and begin constructing complex
sandcastles.  I’d walk barefoot along the shore,

gathering pink and pearl-toned shells, small twists
of driftwood and iridescent stones.  Tiny crabs scuttled
around my toes and flocks of raucous gulls squabbled

over bits of food.  The smell of salt and sea life, the
pulsing rhythm of the waves and the endless, shimmering
juncture of sand and ocean gradually transformed me. 

As the afternoon slipped by, my anxious, everyday self
was replaced by a bold and laughing girl, who danced within
an ever-expanding bubble of light, joy and fathomless power. 




Settled in my recliner
with paper and pen, 
I extend
a tendril of my mind,
like an amoeba’s pseudopod,
into that vast mist
of shifting genesis.

I‘m an obsessed fisherwoman
casting my line further and further,
desperate to snag
the exact rhyme,
an unexpected break,
the sharp gasp of an ending.

Encapsulated in my craft,
I’m oblivious to
the soft lapping
of minutes into hours––
at last my husband’s voice
breaks through, Time for bed?

Weary now, I leave pages of
jottings, crossed out stanzas, 
lines connected by
looping arrows
and prepare myself for sleep,
where I will become
the fish,
darting through 
oceans of neon words.

(Previously published in the Whirlwind Review)


Margaret began writing poetry when she retired from teaching in 2001.  For several years she wrote largely about childhood abuse, a process which was healing and liberating for her.  Now she writes on a wide range of topics close to her heart. Her poems have appears in Pearl, Avocet, Lucid Rhythms, South Boston Literary Gazette, Still Crazy, The Whirlwind Review and the political anthology, A Dream in the Clouds.  Margaret has a poem up coming in the fall/winter edition of Solstice, and she has been awarded The Daily News Prize for Poetry in Volume 25 by The Caribbean Writer.