The Shells

Feel the crunching of the shells-
Helpless shells!
What a world of broken homes this grind foretells!
How they glitter, glitter, glitter
on the crowded beach tonight!
Gone are displaced crawling critters,
replaced now by piles of litter.
Stereos boom, boom, boom
and drunken parties loom.
Oh, how I long to hear
the ocean swells
from the shells, shells, shells, shells,
shells, shells, shells –
From the murmurs and the echoes of the shells.

Find those perfect, hollowed shells
Ocean shells!
What a barren world their scarcity foretells!
Their tenants ran, consumed with fright.
Plastic ice-chests they could not fight.
Their homes are in ruin,
and in shattered pieces float
On shallow water of a sandcastle’s moat.
On this dune
is not a single well-formed shell.
I begin to feel frustration swell.
Children yell.
Vendors sell
what will be trash! – hear me tell
Consumer greed they do compel.
We’re given things and dreams
but no shells, shells, shells.
But no shells, shells, shells, shells,
Shells, shells, shells –
Lost is the finding and collecting of the shells!

Ah, see the perfect ivory shells,
Pretty shells!
See them! See those shells that Sally sells!
Her booth was hidden by the night.
That big one’s mine– the price is right!
Cash, credit card, or even check
I buy and wear it around my neck.
The time is late.
Except for the few around a midnight fire
the crowds have gone
and to my desire
waves have risen higher, higher, higher.
The ocean is a choir.
I’ll sit here forever and ever
On broken shells or whatever.
Under the light of a brand new moon
On the shells, shells, shells!
On the shells, shells, shells, shells
Shells, shells, shells –
I’m wearing and I’m crushing all the shells.



3 thoughts on “The Shells

  1. The repetition is extremely effective.

    I attended a quite-disappointing production of “The Persians” by Aristophanes at the Malibu Getty. I had been very excited beforehand. The oldest play known–how exciting! The play features a Greek chorus, and wailing occurs throughout.

    The choice made in the production for how to translate the ancient tragic effects for modern ears was to have, at most points when the chorus “wailed”, a trite melody sung. Not tunes in a minor key, not tunes falling down the scale at the ends of lines, but tunes one could imagine in ads for Happy Meals.

    How much more effective is your choice of deceptively-simple repetition.

    • I have to give Poe credit for the repetition. I parodied his poem The Bells except I flipped his cheery to dreary mood swing.

      Don’t know if I would enjoyed a Greek play much. I have a hard time even sitting through silent movies.

      • I supposed I should be embarrassed that I missed the Poe parody, but I’m not. If I got embarrassed by everything I missed and forgot, I would never come out from beneath the last rock under which I’d crawled.

        I am glad you pointed it out. Went back and reread both Poe’s and yours, giving me double pleasures today–thank you!

        One part of that play’s production might have surprised you: The best part, to me, was a quite lengthy soliloquy, which the actor did a very decent job of (at which he…oh, who cares 🙂 !) That ALMOST saved the disappointing evening for me.

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