Pretty Pieces

On the beach I see them: fragments of homes, the skeletons of dead cities.  Painted, shaped and colored they lie in shards like pottery and statues crushed in Neptune's blue fist.

What are now pretty pieces scattered across salty estates were once possessed by blind populations hidden deep inside the ocean.  Beyond the sun's hunger they lived, in pavilions, terraces and courtyards.  In a metropolis lost to the eye, existing between the green currents, life flourished in cold splendor.

When I see the bleached wreckage now, it is easy to forget the hidden grottoes – once thriving like a subterranean Pompeii or Herculaneum – blue and freezing as steel, silver like fishes' skin.  But there was a time – before the shoulders of the earth twitched and shivered – when the walls of these antediluvian boroughs reached high, as if to mock thteir drowning; their buried creation.

The buildings glowed in the maritime black, painted and carved with stories that gamboled across the earthenware canvas.  The birth of oceans, the speech of whales, the breath of water, mermaids' virtue, monsters no longer trapped within the corners of maps…all were depicted on the sea-worthy frescoes.

But now all that is left is the detritus of destruction.  When mountains and continents wrenched the earth open miles beneath the complex tides, the buildings fell.  Their remains then rode the curves of water to the surface.  And when they were deposited on the beach, they were crushed into pearls of sand – trodden underfoot by those who did not understand the memories and mysteries they would later shake out of their shoes.

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11 responses to “Pretty Pieces

  1. This is excellent. I promise to stop taking my small shell collection for granted.

  2. Nicely written. Good job.

  3. this one touched the watery depths of my waterbaby soul. i don't know how you do it with the prose but i'm glad that you do it.

  4. Valerae – I have 5-6 glass bowls full of shells at home; I'm ashamed how often I ignore them. Sometimes days go by without my looking at their soothing shapes and colors.
    Wbaby – I'm glad you were moved. The ocean is so easy to write about; I just keep quiet and wait, and the words come – a little soggy and salty from their swim, but entire none the less and glad to reach a safe haven.

  5. Wow! The words come – indeed. How beautifully you write!

  6. This is truly a frothy topic… I could read a whole book about this. I particularly like the second to last paragraph–the idea of whale-speech and mermaid-virtue depicted upon mysterious underwater frescoes… it reminds me of the lyrics from a song: she dives for shells with her nautical nuns and dreams of things she's never seen.

  7. Skeletons of dead cities……there must be an underworld goddess that guards them! Lovely

  8. Beautiful. This reminded me of walking on the beach in Maine, where for the first time sea shells spoke of destruction instead of beauty. Potteries crushed in Neptune's fist, indeed.

  9. And that was meant to be 'pottery'.

  10. I love my shell collections. Now I know why!

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