Looking Back

This blog features poems by a native New Englander and octogenarian, as he looks back on the stomping grounds of his youth -- Chaffee's Woods, Kent Heights, Beach Pond, Escoheag, Wood River -- and his army days in Europe towards the end of WWII.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Moonstone Beach

We often went to Moonstone Beach
To spend a Saturday,
Down in South Kingston we would go
Complete with lunch and gear,
To get away from work and school
And give us all a break,
So off we’d go to the south shore
To frolic in the sand.

We’d park the car on Moonstone Road
And pick up all our gear
Then make the hike into the beach
Through hot, hot sand and stones
But stop to soak our feet a while
In water at the bridge
And then we’d go across the dunes
To set up on the beach.

My children played on Moonstone Beach
In sand – and water too
They’d build a mountain out of sand
Then watched the rising tide
As it demolished all they’d built
With just a wave or two
And then they’d lie upon the beach
To sunburn or to tan.

There was a pond behind the beach
Where Jeff and Jon and I
Would often catch some big blue crabs
On fish heads cast out deep.
Then after waiting for a while
We’d slowly pull it in
And catch the crabs that were attached
With a long handled net.

We’d fish that way until we’d caught
As much as we could eat
A bushel basket’s what we had
And when that was half full
We’d cover up the basket tight
Then pick up nets and lines
And set the crabs in water deep
Until the time to leave.

We’d often wander down the beach
To watch the great white swans
That paddled so effortlessly
Around the salty pond
Catching minnows and tiny frogs
And small green crabs as well
Then soaring off as swans will do
Their flight so beautiful.

Some days, the ocean was dead calm
Without a trace of haze.
We’d look far out to sea and catch
Block Island’s shining cliffs.
It was then that little ones could
Get wet up to their chests,
With little fear of being bumped
By the incoming waves.

Sometimes we’d watch the ferry boat
Leave the Point Judith side,
And on an ebbing tide would head
For the Block Island dock.
She’d travel fast down through the gap,
Then past the breakwater,
And if there was a little fog
She soon would disappear.

On days when waves were four feet high
The older kids and I
Would sometimes dive right through a wave
To catch the next in line
Then use that wave to body surf
And ride it into shore
Then when we tired of having fun
We’d lay down in the sand.

Now when we all had had enough
Of sand, and surf, and sun
We’d pack up all our gear again
Along with crabs and nets
And make the hike back to the car
Each carrying a share
And though it was late afternoon
We’d head up to Beach Pond.

Once there we all would jump right in
To wash off salt and sand
Then after eating leftovers
We’d change into our clothes
Then watch the sunset in the west
Until the sun was gone
And at the whip-poor-will’s first call
That’s when we’d leave for home.

Each year we went July the Fourth
When water warmed enough
To swim and loaf around the beach
Without our wrapping up
And often met the Bates there
To spend the day with them
And when the sun was getting low
‘Twas then that we would go.

But on the Fourth we always watched
The fireworks galore
We’d go to Roger Williams Park
They had the very best
We’d park the cars where we did work
In Narragansett’s lot
And watch from there for we could see
As well as anyone.

And when the fireworks were done
We’d leave to go back home
We'd say goodbye to our best friends
With whom we’d had much fun.
When we got home we’d carry kids
So very sound asleep
From all of our activities
But mostly Moonstone Beach.

And once we went to Moonstone Beach
But did not go to swim
For it was later in the year
We'd had a hurricane
We went there then to watch the waves
Come crashing in to shore
They breached the pond where we caught crabs
And left a big dead shark.

We marveled at those giant waves
Caused by the storm that missed
Rhode Island by some sixty miles
Yet caused such havoc here.
The swans were gone, we know not where
The crabs had drained to sea
The beach was littered with debris
And sand had washed away.

Thus after viewing all the change
We hoped that by next spring
The waves would wash away the shark
And clean up the debris
Then close the breach made to the pond
So crabs would grow anew,
And make again our Moonstone Beach
The place we used to know.

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