I wrote the following poem while out of town working at one of the state parks on the Texas gulf coast; a park that is no longer there; completely destroyed in 2008 by Hurricane Ike.  Ike’s destruction damaged me a bit; left me feeling hollow; survivor’s guilt, they call it. Many lost everything–I lost nothing, but still… I hurt.


Up early

Nothing new, but different

The sun still somewhere else

I think it might be a perfect day

To watch it arrive


As I slip between the cabins

Through the early morning haze

A gray shape darts from nowhere

Zigging and zagging

Dodging stones not thrown

A seagull cries in the distance


At the beach I look across grey water

A hint of pink lines distant clouds

Sand, raked by man and machine

Turns golden in the first light

Gulls hunt then battle for scraps upturned


A toddler squats, entranced

By a broken shell

Time-worn trash to most

A treasure—a wonder—to her

Her wonder—a treasure—to me


Copyright © 2002 C. Mashburn

Sharing this on dVerse Poets Pub’s Meeting the Bar: Perfect Solitude. Stop by and read some fine poetry


  1. Sherry Mashburn said

    What a lovely picture you have painted!

  2. Precisely, we were all once that little girl. I am very sorry for your loss -that level of destruction is so difficult to wrap our minds and hearts around.

  3. Mary said

    I wrote a long comment. It disappeared. I am sorry, but I don’t have the energy to recreate it. I enjoyed your poem…..sigh…

    • That happens to me too, Mary. It is very disconcerting! Thank you for trying! I always appreciate your comments!

  4. claudia said

    A treasure—a wonder—to her
    Her wonder—a treasure—to me…i like…precious moments…love the images…vividly painted…could see…

  5. No matter whether you have lost something material in destruction like that or not it does something to our hearts and souls to see the suffering of our fellow humankind. to see the precious little one and to share her
    wonder at found treasure is a treasure in itself. Beautiful write Mr. Charles!

  6. ah, that wonder is such a treasure indeed….we lose it a bit i think, but i really like that your eyes capture them and send them to your pen so we can experience it again through her through you…smiles….nicely done sir…

    • Actually, I think that wonder begins to come back as we age. I think it can go full circle if we let it. I sometimes find myself studying some simple thing as if I’ve never noticed it before. We have to want to see things, I think.

  7. It’s that complete stillness… the moment of taking stock… That’s what strikes me here.

  8. nephiriel said

    wonderful poem, especially love the last stanza. thank you for the images

  9. hedgewitch said

    You build the scene well, Charles–I can almost smell the ocean. Love the last lines.

  10. kaykuala said

    A treasure—a wonder—to her
    Her wonder—a treasure—to me

    A classic write affirming how fondness can readily ‘transfer’ its feelings when closeness abounds between two hearts. Nicely Charles!


  11. leahJlynn said

    It’s seems Like you and i have the same lovely idea. I enjoyed reading this sure.

    • Yes, we did! I loved what you wrote, Leah! It was like we were looking at the same sunrise from different places.
      Thank you for stopping by!

  12. danadampier said

    A child’s wonder is always a precious thing!

  13. seingraham said

    A beautiful write Charles … I feel for your survivor’s guilt; I don’t think we understand nearly enough about it or the “aloneness” that comes with … am happy for the child’s “wonder – a treasure-to me” as it should be …

  14. Mohana said

    wonderfully done, and the closing lines are so heart warming.

  15. A few years ago we spent the week at a townhouse right on the beach in Maryland. One morning I woke while still dark and went out and sat on the sea wall watching the dawn break, and the sky turn from almost black to gray, to purple to pink. Your poem took me back to this place. Lovely.

  16. kkkkaty said

    I like the way you led us to the sweet ending….and you are right, we hope each day begins and ends happily….

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