Published on Academy of American Poets (

Mercy Beach

Stony trails of jagged beauty rise
like stretch marks streaking sand-hips.
All the Earth has borne beguiles us
& battered bodies build our acres.

Babes that sleep in hewn rock cradles
learn to bear the hardness coming.
Tough grace forged in tender bones—
may this serve & bless them well.

They grow & break grief into islands
of sun-baked stone submerged in salt
kisses, worn down by the ocean's ardor
relentless as any strong loving.

May they find caresses that abolish pain.
Like Earth, they brandish wounds of gold!


Copyright © 2015 by Kamilah Aisha Moon. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 20, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets

About this Poem

“This poem was inspired by the shoreline in Madison, Connecticut. In Annie Finch’s workshop with other poets at the Poetry By The Sea conference, we explored meter's relationships to nature. As I entered this meditation, I couldn’t help but relate the physical landscape to the ongoing struggles of human nature embroiling our country and world. The poem is a call to transform adversity into greatness; a wish for relief, also known as mercy.”
Kamilah Aisha Moon


Kamilah Aisha Moon

Kamilah Aisha Moon is the author of Starshine & Clay (Four Way Books, 2017).

Date Published: 2015-08-20

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