Monday, August 2, 2010

Charlotte’s Shells

Charlotte's Shells by Winifred Nicholson (1933)

Was looking for some change
To do the laundry on 8th Street
When I came across Charlotte’s shells

She had always wanted to
Come to the ocean with me
But as she never could come
I did what I thought
Was the next best thing

I picked up a shell
One for every trip
One for every beach
That Charlotte could not
Share with me

There are nine Charlotte shells
For the next time that we meet
If we never do
I’ll always have
Charlotte’s shells.

— Mark Butkus


  1. special to do that for her...i hope you do run into her...

  2. Very romantic. Felt like watching part of the movie It Could Happen To You.

  3. Thank you both very much for your kind words. I enjoy reading your respective poems, so it is with great respect that I regard your comments.

  4. Wow! I love this. very sentimental, endearing.
    man, I hope you meet up with Charlotte again.
    good job.

  5. I hope so too. The shells weigh heavy upon my heart.

  6. Something about this poem makes it more than about "shells".. it's the intent of care that moves me..

    (wee story-worked with a lady who had never been to the beach. one weekend trip i took i collected her sand & shells and gave them to her-she still has them)

    I really enjoyed this poem!

  7. I hope you do too, wonderful verse.

  8. Thanks Lynne,
    What a lovely story that you share. I have the base of a terra cotta planter filled with grains of sand from various seas and various journeys, there are coins and ephemera hidden underneath the surface, and as always, there are Charlotte's shells.

    I enjoy the poem that is featured on Bar None Group today. You are a poet that writes from the soul.

  9. Thanks Pat. There is a part of me that wants to send her this link.

  10. i agree with lynne..the shells are just the visible...there's so much care and love and tenderness in collecting these shells..enjoyed it mark..

  11. Are there any shells in Brighton, Claudia?

  12. Lots of symbolism here--a washed and windblown painting that yet gives a strong sense of place and person, and a brief set of phrases that yet give a sense of connection. Each shell once held a living creature; somehow life connects to life, even without resolution.

  13. Hedgewitch, I want you to review all my poems! You found and saw a depth to Charlotte's Shells that I wasn't certain could be found.

  14. must see her, so she knows how you've cherished those shells. A wonderful share!

  15. Natasha, thank you for your encouragement as I respect and admire the work that you do with The River.

  16. A visit to the Orange Tree will give rise to poetic fruit.