Sea Glass Collectors' Creed

By Bill MacLaughlin

beach glass bill collector creed

Miners dig for many years
in shafts beneath the ground
for the largest diamond in the world
(which never will be found)

The same is true for emeralds
and gems of every kind
They hide in veins of solid rock
awaiting to be mined

But there are other gemstones
produced by nature’s hand
which wait to be discovered
where the water meets the sand

These little gems are sea glass
of every shape and size
sometimes there are so many
we can’t believe our eyes

And each piece tells a story—
a story all its own
and every piece holds mysteries
which never will be known

Their scarcity in nature
makes them difficult to find
These tiny shards of frosted glass
that nature left behind

Collectors walk along the shore
in each and all directions
to find the perfect piece of glass
to add to their collections

One thing they can depend upon—
without a bit of doubt
The very wave that brings them in
is the one that takes them out

 

And some will walk the shore for miles
however far it reaches
while sifting through the shells and twigs
on lesser-tended beaches

They all aspire to find the beach
where every gem appears
tumbled in the sand and surf
for many many years

For glass is made of silica,
the purest form of sand
with many pieces blown by mouth
and shaped by human hand

There ought to be a better way
to toss out broken dishes
than to throw them in a churning sea
to live amongst the fishes

This glass is always tumbled,
frosted, polished and abraded
returning to the very sand
from which it was created

On rivers, oceans, lakes or streams:
wherever water reaches
why is it perfect specimens
wash up on private beaches?

For every piece you find is like
a gemstone in your hand
and all you leave behind are
just your footprints in the sand

This poem is by Bill MacLaughlin, aka Beach Glass Bill, a beachcomber from Cleveland, Ohio.

We offer prints of The Sea Glass Collectors' Creed in our online shop.

This article appeared in the Beachcombing Magazine September/October 2019 issue.

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