Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ode to Lovers Lost and Unknown (a poem)

The “postcard below was created from a photo I’d taken on Wrightsville Beach earlier this month. It was a cold morning and I was the only one on the beach. The inserted photos are of the Lumina, a landmark on the beach that was torn down in the early 70s to make room for condos. I “borrowed” the photos from the Wrightsville Beach museum. As it features in the story below, I created this post card and have included a poem I wrote about the Lumina and lost loves… I mentioned in yesterday’s post about how Cathy and my family would both go to the beach at the Lumina. Below is a poem that I first published in this blog in 2005. The Lumina was quite a place. Even David Brinkley wrote about in his memoirs.

Ode to Lovers Lost and Unknown

I never danced upstairs at the Lumina.
The ballroom, exposed to offshore evening breezes
cooling guests Jitterbugging and dancing the Charleston,
under the bright lights that guided ship captains
following the coastline, that was until ‘42,
when darkness prevailed and German U-boats prowled.

And I never laid in the sand on the beach
watching silent movies projected on a screen
beyond the breakers that provided a constant rhythm,
for the antics of Mr. Fields and company
until a nor’easter flatted the screen,
by then obsolete with the new talking shows.

And I never rode the electric trolley
the ten miles from the beach to Wilmington,
late at night under live oaks haunted with Spanish moss,
passing the new bungalows on Wrightsville Avenue,
the summer air scented with honeysuckle
and the sky filled with lightning bugs and Perseids meteors

I did get to shoot some pool, a quarter a game,
in the shell of a building once called the Lumina
and I showered underneath the rotting building
rinsing my salty body in brackish water,
unaware of the splendor long past,
soon to be wrecked and cleared for condos.

Time passed me by
and I’ll never had a chance to dance with you at the Lumina,
to watch the light reflect in your eyes
and the wind to blow your dress and toss your hair.
But if I had the chance, I’d pull you tight,
my arm around your waist, my chin tucked on your shoulder,
savoring the moment.


  1. Beautiful throughout, but I didn't expect that last verse to sound so sweet.

  2. Oh, Sage, that was lovely, especially the last few lines. I never saw the Lumina either, but I remember similar places in VA Beach.

  3. It's always a shame when places with that much history are destroyed.

  4. The missed opportunities are the ones we identify the longest with. It is good to know this sort of pain for a time. A short time.

  5. Sage
    Nice poem .... its sounds like you might be in a 'renaissance' trance.

  6. I like it a lot. Bittersweet is an overused term but it comes to mind for this.

  7. After Pearl and for a lot of that winter the U-boats wolfpacks used the costal lights to savage shipping on that route. The instructions from the War Dept to ignore the 12mile limit took a huge amount of time to get down to the ships crews.

  8. Beautiful ode to a beautiful beach--one of my all time favorites

    A U-boat actually landed in Montauk. The movie "The house on 92nd Street" one of my all time favorite films spins off on that

  9. Randall, thanks

    Ily, the place had a romantic feel to it, even when it was falling down

    Kenju, I saw it--but was 15 or 16, when they finally tore it down and by then it was only a shell of itself

    Jen, agreed!

    Walking Guy, good words of wisdom!

    Sleepy One, maybe! :)

    Charles, THanks

    Vince, the area north of the Frying Pan Shoals were especially fertile ground for the ships trying to hug the coast--they'd have to go out so far to get around the shoals.

    Pia, there are many wrecks off shore her from U-boat activity

    TC, thanks.

  10. Whenever I see an old business that has closed down, especially some place that I've spent some time at, it's always a bit nostalgic to think about all the life that was lived there, all the memories that were made. You've captured that well here.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this. A nice change of pace from your usual fare :)

  11. What a beautiful poem, Sage. A truly wonderful expression.