2021 Beachcombing Poetry Contest

By Albert Flynn DeSilver

illustration of beachcomber

Thank you so much for inviting me to read these beachcombing poems. My role as an artist and teacher is to celebrate and support the creative act, encourage curiosity, deep study, practice, and excellence, and I celebrate all who participated  in this contest. As I read your poetry, I imagined myself a beachcomber, wandering the shores of language looking for unique sparkles in the sand—shiny polished points of light that caught my eye.

And like any of you strolling your local beach, there are gems I might not have seen or noticed, or simply bypassed, and yet to another they might have blazed forth with radiance and caught the light of the sun and your jittery urgent attention. I hope you keep writing as you are inspired, keep peering between the shadowed rocks, keep reading the seascape, keep polishing your poems and the poetic movement of your heart, as you step forth once again with the sand between your toes.

With gratitude, blessings, and best wishes on your writing journey!

Albert Flynn DeSilver, Contest Judge

watercolor painting of sea glass

First prize

Distant Sea

Diana Reed Martin

There are a thousand miles
between the sea and I,
but when we meet,
I receive a gift to hold
until I return.

A smooth rock shaped like
a small sea turtle with
one missing flipper,
rolled by a wave onto the shore.

A white little neck clamshell
with a “D” carved on top.
My name starts with “D”;
this is not a coincidence.

A nugget of jade sea glass,
imperfect and coarse,
yet to be honed into a
smooth gem coveted by
many a beachcomber.

One sea biscuit fossil
left behind in the ebb tide,
to be quickly discovered
before its identity faded away.

The delicate skeleton of a sea fan,
well worn and fragile,
yet still beautiful in its starkness,
like a tree in winter.

Now settled on a dusty shelf,
these gifts beckon once more
to the constant yet distant sea.
How long must I wait?

feather and sea pottery watercolor painting

Second Prize:

Haiku for Sea Glass

Candice Kemp

Icy azure shard,
Water traveler hidden lands.
Sun-fired, reflects.

watercolor illustration of beachcomber

Third Prize:

The season of the sea

Heidi McCallum

Gray like my melancholy.
Salty like my mood.
The waves curl and thrash the ship.
Angry for the intrusion.
The crest and swell of the waves,
echo to me,
lull and persuade me.
Welcoming me home,
angry at my absence.
The throng and rumble of the waves,
hitting rocky shores.
The dappling ripples dance around
naked winter toes,
pale white and swollen.
Soothing and cooling.
Like the hum of the waves,
on the rocks of the shore.

watercolor painting beachcombing

Honorable Mention:


Jeni Mawter

Sea gifted glories
Their secrets once forgotten
Whispering my name

Illustrations by Chanda Patel from Mother Beach (Merski/Patel, Skeezel Press, 2021)

This article appeared in the Beachcombing Magazine May/June 2021 issue.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published