Agate Hunting

We walk along the pebble piled beach
Beside the murmur of the falling tide.

The slanting rays of afternoon reflect
And turn the stones and water into stars,

All alike to me.  I bend and sift
Coming up with nothing more than quartz,

Distracted by the shiny water covered
Rocks that keep my eyes from seeing agates.

You upon your own starry track
With better-trained eyes discover jewels

I have missed.  You find ten to every
Hard won agate left for me to find.

Your eye somehow grades the glint by shades
I never see, by practiced skills rehearsed

In childhood, walking the beach beside your dad,
His eye better then, he challenged you

By his skill.  You strained to find just one
More agate, somehow always a couple short.

Bryan Ness
Published in Ebbing Tide