Sea Glass

Sea Glass

This weathered jewel began as normal shards
of shattered glass, but given enough time

and natural persistence from the seaboards,
that sharp, translucent, brittle crystalline

material, just so much composite sand, is ground
from broken bottles or even distant shipwrecks

until sharp edges become smoothed and round.
This cocktail of colour, found among the rocks,

crafted by the patient ocean’s constant dance,
leads this same glass to lose its former lustre.

But whilst it loses this, it gains a gloss
of frost slow-formed that shapes a stronger matter,

a shell as tough as nature can command,
and fragile glass becomes as hard as diamond.

Note: Sea glass is glass that has been weathered by the salt water of the ocean, which turns the broken glass from bottles (or even, in some cases, shipwrecks) into natural frosted glass. It is often found on beaches and is used as jewellery in brooches, necklaces, and the like. The process of converting real glass into sea glass takes decades; the point of the poem is that, just as brittle glass is weathered by the years and the elements, so we are weathered, but also shaped, by the passing years as we grow older. Glass loses its original slickness when it becomes sea glass, but it acquires its tough, frosted appearance which makes it durable and resilient. Similarly, we may lose the lustre and good looks of our youth as we grow older, but we acquire an emotional and psychological robustness to compensate for this loss.

This poem © Oliver Tearle 2021