The Perfect Stick


I found the perfect walking stick on the beach and I picked it up and walked with it.


I brushed off the sand so I could admire it better.

It was almost perfectly straight and knotty and seemed to have a natural handle for gripping.

I had a big smile on my face as I walked along the sand, well behind my parents.

I puffed out my chest and walked

with the posture of an infantryman.


It was foggy and cold and white caps licked the shore with violence.

The foam, brown with salt, gathered near my feet and it smelled like seaweed.

I could hear the ugly cawing of seagulls.


The tide was coming in.


My dad kept a close eye on me as he walked and I remember seeing his eyes grow

wide as I made a beeline for a large rock, twenty yards away.


I always enjoyed climbing rocks, and this one would be a great climb,

especially while holding the perfect walking stick.

As I began to climb towards the rock, dad ran towards me.

I ascended the rock and a large wave came and I was trapped, though unconcerned.

I still had my stick and after all, it was perfect.

It wouldn’t do to feed it to the ocean.


The tide was coming in.


My dad leapt onto the rock ahead of me.

He was above the waves and the rising water.

“Give me your hand,” he said.

I looked at him, his mouth wide, his hand stretched towards mine,

eyes desperate with fear.

“Give me your hand,” he said again.

But I couldn’t find a way to grab his hand and keep the stick so I shook my head no.

“Give me your hand,” he plead with me .

Another wave came, this time crashing into me.

I lost my balance

and my handle on the stick.


He lunged and picked me up by my shirt and cradled me to himself.

I looked at him and at my stick floating in the waves

and I began to cry.





all rights reserved. copyright October 2011 Justin W. Price


If you like this poem...

A revised version of it appears in my ebook, Digging to China, available both on Kindle and as a PDF. It will soon be available as a limited edition chap book. To request a PDF or chap book,click here.

Thanks for Reading.

PDXKaraokeGuy, also known as Justin W. Price, is the managing editor at eFiction horror. Husband to Andrea, father to two dogs. writer.poet.baseball fan. tattooed. He is am amateur theologian with a rabid sweet tooth. He resides in a suburb of Portland, Oregon.He has a poetry book available for Amazon Kindle, and also maintains a blog, FirstBlog. His work has been featured in the Crisis Chronicles, efiction Magazine, The Hellroaring Review, the Bellwether Review, eFiction Humor, and the Rusty Nail. Please visit his profile page for more information. Thanks!

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Comments 39 comments

PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 3 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks a lot, till. I appreciate that! I embellished some details of this story (but what writer doesn't embellish?) but, still, it's the thought that counts.

Take care, my friend!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

A perfectly lovely and understandable narrative poem. What a quandary for a little boy...his precious stick or obey his father! How easily we are tricked by the sea and need protection from it's surprises...loved this poem!

Voted up and awesome.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks again, Derdriu. i'll probly revise this one, but I love the story still and still tell it :-)


Derdriu 4 years ago

PDXKaraokeGuy, That must have been as difficult a choice for your father as you regarding the loss of the walking stick.

Your mentioning so eloquently but so succinctly the fog, the seagulls, the seaweed smell, and the white caps take me back to all the ocean shorelines that I've walked. It particularly makes me think of the Delmarva Peninsula and Assateague and Chincoteague Islands, with your description of the salt-browned foam.

Up + UABI (not meant to be funny even though it is kind of amusing to think of your infantry pose!). Shared.

Respectfully, and with many thanks, Derdriu


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

thanks u so much, sparklea. those words are very kind. I appreciate the visit!


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York

PDXKaraokeGuy: I could FEEL how your father felt as well as YOU. Written so well, I could visualize it all. What a great writer you are! Blessings, Sparklea :)


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

stessily, my dad is a great and kind person. we are a lot of like. I imagine your dad was the same way. Thanks for reading. I'm glad you enjoyed this!


stessily 4 years ago

PDX, Such a joy to walk along the beach and find the perfect driftwood, the perfect shell, the perfect grain of sand! It's difficult to let go of those treasures; they seem to be gifts from the universe.

I'm especially partial to your poems of childhood, especially featuring your dad, who reminds me of my dad in so many ways.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks, Visantha. I'm glad you enjoyed this. I appreciate your read and your comment. God bless you and have a Happy New Year!


vasantha  T k profile image

vasantha T k 4 years ago from Bangalore

Nice hub .Beautiful description of the stick and the story. Best wishes


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

carol, thanks for reading. I'm glad you enjoyed this poem and I'm glad that your son was okay. The ocean is mighty and powerful and scary. Thanks for stopping by. always nice to see you!


carolp profile image

carolp 4 years ago from Switzerland

Beautiful story and it thrilled me reading as you fall into the water holding your stick tight. Your father was terribly frightened from the waves to catch and drawn you away. My son was once catched from the wild dangerous waves as he and his dad were playing with the waves just in the seashore when suddenly a giant wave catched him and drawn him some meters away. I was horribly afraid, thanks my husband catched him back to shore.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thank u daydreamer. I appreciate the stop by!


daydreamer13 profile image

daydreamer13 5 years ago

Excellent! Voted up!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

arusho, thank you very much. Much appreciated!


arusho 5 years ago

wonderful poem, voted up and awesome!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thank you admiral, sunnie and Lyns. I'm happy with the words of this poem but not sure about the form. I think maybe a prose style fits better. check back. I may post this poem also as a prose poem! Thanks for your kind words and comments!


Admiral_Joraxx profile image

Admiral_Joraxx 5 years ago from Philippines

Great creativity here PDXKaraokeGuy. You made a amazing masterpiece out of a very simple topic. 1 vote up and beautiful for this.=)


Sunnie Day 5 years ago

Good Morning PDX,

I love your stories..they are so simple and sweet. So many ways to read this and draw many thoughts from this..no hidden meanings just the care of a father towards his son.

Great job,

Sunnie


lyns profile image

lyns 5 years ago from USA

You welcome, thanks for sharing.

lyns


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Lyns- thanks for stopping by

Fennel- thanks again. I'ts funny the different terms different countries- and even regions- use to describe the same thing!


Fennelseed profile image

Fennelseed 5 years ago from Australia

Oh, I just mean when I am walking in the bush, maybe 'bush' is an australian term for the forest or the wilderness? It's a great place to walk, and all the better with a good walking stick, so yes I do relate very much to your wonderful story, PDX, my to you votes again!!


lyns profile image

lyns 5 years ago from USA

Lol, you are welcome, have a good one. lyns


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Lucky Cats, thanks for your read and for your kind words and thoughtful analysis. very appreciated. Thanks for stopping by!

Jhaman, thanks for sharing that. That's a cute story! Something about little boys and sticks. (and old men, for that matter. My grandfather had one that he loved and had for years)


jhamann profile image

jhamann 5 years ago from Reno NV

My son is fond of the beach and sticks, he has many in our yard that he has collected, that Dad isn't allowed to touch. Being a father myself I realize the importance of the losing of such a valuable item and the need to step in and help even if it means a sacrifice.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

You held something beautiful and magical in your hands for a brief moment. You were in wonder and walked with a feeling of power and confidence while holding the beautiful thing. Though it had no "magical" powers, in a child's mind, in your child's eye..it was perfect.

Your father reached out at the absolutely crucial moment to grab onto something that he held as dear, wonderful, valuable and who gave himn a sense of purpose and power...and held tightly and with great relief to one who was his perfect boy.

UP Beautiful Awesome Interesting


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thank you Lyns. I like this poem a lot and even though I've taken some artistic license with the story, it's still a very vivid memory!


lyns profile image

lyns 5 years ago from USA

Excellent narrative poem you and your dad have some really good times, sorry you could save the perfect stick, excellent title, "Perfect Stick," thanks for sharing this poem. Voted up Awesome and Interesting. I hope you have a wonderful evening. lyns


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Frank, me too. Me too. It was perfect, after all.

Happy, thank u. I think it's interesting how oblivious children can be to danger and to what's truly important.

@ Brand, I think we all can.

@Audrey- thanks for saying so. i originally wrote it as a prose poem, but I like it with the enjambed lines better.

Thank you all for your reads and comments!


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 5 years ago from California

Lovely! Feels like a wonderful cross between poem and story--Loved it!


brandasaur profile image

brandasaur 5 years ago from Planet X

OMG! I could totallt relate ?


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

This was a powerful poetry narrative perfectly told from the child's point of view. Reading as adults we fear for your life, identify with your terrified father and yet still identify with your child self so full of innocence, curiosity, and joy at having your new found "stick". So glad no one got hurt.

This was excellent. Voted up, useful, awesome and interesting.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 5 years ago from Shelton

what a delightful and clever tale of lost and found..so sad that your stick floated away :( Frank


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

fennel, I'm not sure what a bush walk is, but I'm glad you can relate. Thanks for the kind words. i really like this poem, a lot because of the different perspectives it could be viewed from!


Fennelseed profile image

Fennelseed 5 years ago from Australia

I relate to this as when I bushwalk I am forever on the look out for the perfect walking stick. To find that stick and then to lose it is tragic. This is so simply and so beautifully written, it is free of adorning clutter and allows the emotions conveyed to shine through. Thank you for sharing this wonderful poem - I would have cried too!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

thanks Sue and me too. The ocean demands a sacrfice, I suppose my stick is better then me...


Sueswan 5 years ago

So sorry you lost your perfect stick.

Voted up and awesome.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Mobias, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad u enjoyed the story. I think it's fun to read and write poems that took place in the past in present tense. you should also check.I have several on here. I appreciate the kind words!


mobias profile image

mobias 5 years ago from Forest Grove, OR

Quite interesting there 'fellow'PDX guy. Strangely, I could relate to this story. This almost happened to me once a long time ago, when I was new to the coast, and the dangers it hides well. I like how you're telling the story from the viewpoint of a very young child?? Keep writing.

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    Justin W. Price (PDXKaraokeGuy)742 Followers
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    Justin W. Price, AKA PDXKaraokeGuy, is a freelance writer, blogger, and award- nominated author based out of Portland, Oregon.


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