The umbrella man
lines up his double chairs,
punches his post into the sand,
and carefully sets each umbrella
in anticipation of that day's sea of sunbathers
reading their Kindles in a semblance of shade
to a deaf audience of careless waves.
At the shore’s edge
facing his teammates
frantically calls the next play.
They appear unable to hear
above the roar of the crowd
of breaking waves.
Twenty-five umbrellas in a blue row
challenge the sea
with frantic futility.
Tall, thin lady in red hat
marches along the shore
to her own rhythm,
ignoring that of the sea,
though her pointed toes occasionally step in water.
They could be sisters,
but the slim runner passes her without acknowledgment
as she, in her black sack dress, stoops,
picks up an interesting shell with her plump fingers,
and drops it into her plastic bag.
No matter how much the beachcomber combs
to impress the bikini-ed ladies,
the wind and surf always have the last word.
Gull with broken wing,
frantic to fly,
flutters along the shore.
beach strollers, and shell hunters
each for a moment,
before moving on.
One can't help hearing
in the fractured song of seabirds
a running theme
of mortal foolishness.
Image links to its source
Seagulls over the Waves: Wiki Commons - Seitei (Shotei) Watanabe 1851-1918 - public domain