kpoem.jpg (4477 bytes)
(photo: NBEN-RENB)

Strangers on the Shore

Karen Townsend,
Fundy National Park Interpreter

October 1998

f.gif (304 bytes)our women peer into a tide pool
Enjoying warm sun and brisk ocean wind
Curiosity about life below the tide
Has them filled with questions

Strangers to one another, each alone in her life
They have come from different provinces and countries
A young career woman, a Native grandmother,
A middle-aged single citywoman

And myself, resident of this rugged shore
Cowering from pain and love
Behind walls as impenetrable
As any of the barnacle fortresses stuck to these rocks

In the pool, barnacles are feeding with feathery legs
Ghostly sandshrimp scuttle by
A tiny razor clam extends a long foot to dig in the sand
I share the stories of these creatures' lives

The women's laughter at my explanations
Encourages more humour from all of us
We soon dissolve in giggles
Over the reproductive prowess of the barnacle

On a vast, almost deserted beach
Four women crouch around a puddle
Screams of hilarity and tears of laughter
Mystify the scattered onlookers

I do not know these women I am with
And yet they have opened their minds to mine
We are playing in this united awareness
Acknowledging, without words, the experience of womanhood

My walls of isolation
Are eroded to rubble by their gentle laughter
For these few moments I am
Completely known, completely accepted, completely loved