My Cart 


Charlotte Mandel

in memoriam J.S.
You dived for us into night-dark
bringing mysteries to light—
harlequin and psychedelic
kaleidoscopic explosions
gliding through branches of living coral—
the eight-armed    the finned
creatures who breathe salt waters in the way
that we who clomp noisily
on rock sand and pavement
depend on wind-carried air.
In mask and goggles
wearing a backpack of oxygen
you hunted the strange and beautiful
not with knife, net, or gun
but with a camera
brought them up to our earth
to live
as incandescent prints and slides
magically projected. 
And on our landed world
you hunted wild blossomings 
to transplant and nurture
beside your front door.
I do not dive into saltwater depths,
gaze only at surfaces—
sunlit ripples breaking into jewels,
horizon on gray days
blending sky with sea.
I pick up shells, find quivering jellyfish
surf discards onto sand,
follow simple sights and sounds
of shore birds, blur of sandpiper legs,
harsh calls of gulls
and thanks to you, 
know ocean and garden beauty
far beyond my daily view.
© by Charlotte Mandel.
Used with the author’s permission.


Charlotte Mandel is winner of the 2012 New Jersey Poets Prize, and was featured reader at the Journal of New Jersey Poets presentation at County College of Morris in April, 2012. As a suburban wife and mother, she wrote no poetry until her true poetic self came to the fore in midlife. That self has now accomplished the publication of seven books of poetry, including two poem-novellas of feminist biblical revision; literary articles; essays on the role of cinema in the life and work of poet H.D. (Hilda Doolittle); publishing and editing Saturday's Women, the Eileen W. Barnes Award Anthology; teaching—she recently retired after several years teaching poetry writing at Barnard College Center for Research on Women; and earning awards that include more than a dozen fellowships and residencies. Learn more about Charlotte at


Post New Comment:
For life born in the sea, though all creations comes from above; the birds of the air and fish of the sea. A bit of "The Gift From the Sea" here. Thank you.
Posted 01/26/2013 01:24 PM
Wilda Morris:
I also loved the lines Camille Balla singled out, as well as the expression of gratitude to the way another person can help us see beauty. The rhyme in the last stanza rounds the poem out very nicely.
Posted 01/25/2013 08:15 AM
Donna Pflueger:
Charlotte, what a beautiful journey you took me on. I very much enjoyed the flow and dichotomy of your poem. I was left wanting more...
Posted 01/24/2013 06:59 PM
Beautiful! Yes, thanks to others for the gifts they bring so we can see more beauty. I especially like 'you hunted the strange and beautiful not with knife, net, or gun but with a camera'. Thanks to you for this poem. Camille
Posted 01/24/2013 08:02 AM
An exquisite tribute. Thank you for this beautiful poem.
Posted 01/24/2013 06:23 AM

Contents of this web site and all original text and images therein are copyright © by Your Daily Poem. All rights reserved.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Purchasing books through any poet's Amazon links helps to support Your Daily Poem.
The material on this site may not be copied, reproduced, downloaded, distributed, transmitted, stored, altered, adapted,
or otherwise used in any way without the express written permission of the owner.