Archives for posts with tag: Betty’s Bay

Betty's Bay
The tides of
tomorrow
and tomorrow
and the next tomorrow
sweep into crevices of shored shells.
The waves nudge these hollows of yesterday’s habitat

into the barrels of
tomorrow,
tomorrow
and the next tomorrow.
There the shored shells

break with tomorrow,
tomorrow
and another tomorrow dashed
to granules that lip the tideline.

Salted foam seeps this watermark
and in the kelp-laurels sandhoppers dance.

While paging through the anthology of Chinese poems on my bookshelf, I came across a nostalgic poem in which the poet embarks on a journey in his imagination and progresses to reminisce about his favourite landscapes. (The poem was Su Tong-P’o’s Inscribed on a Painting in Wang Ting-Kuo’s Collection Entitled “Misty River and Crowded Peaks”)

He ends the poem,

Returning to your painting, I’m taken by sighs of sad wonder.
I have old friends in those mountains,
	and their poems keep calling me home.(p. 381)

I loved this image of his friends’ poems calling the poet/speaker home. This was the starting point for my poem. Who would I call home with my poetry, if I could?

There is a crescent of beach to which my melancholy imagination often turns. This fragment of strand is in Betty’s Bay, one of my favourite spots in the world. It is in this place that my call home is set.

This beach has also featured in
On a rock amongst rocks
A Thousand Scientific Facts about the Sea

Betty’s Bay has inspired
Wild Horse Don’t Break
In this place, I eat butternut soup

Su Tong-P’o’s poem is in Classical Chinese Poetry: An Anthology, translated and edited by David Hinton (Farrar, Straus and Giroux: New York, 2008), pp. 380-381.

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

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An old magazine advertisement for a Williams Typewriter courtesy of the Old Design Shop.

An old magazine advertisement for a Williams Typewriter courtesy of the Old Design Shop.

At the beginning of this month I wrote of the bumper crop of archive poems for November. Here are the last few from the files of 2012 and 2013:

A Bequest of Wonder, a poem inspired by a painted banner of Chinese silk, a Chinese artist’s portrait and two detailed Shunga prints.

I do. Do you?, in which all the antics of friends and family at a wedding are recalled.

The Benefits of 320 Kicks, for which I, the poem-writer, executed 320 kicks.

Did you read the post about the poem I’d like on my epigraph? Here I share about the wild horses who fling their thoughts.

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books available for preview and purchase. Click on the titles below:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

I’ve clearly stepped into my own Back to the Future DeLorean. A post scheduled November 12th was made live today. Consequently the post found its way into the back list. I can only plead autumnal illness and an addled brain. Please read about “Wild Horses Don’t Break.” Writers with chest infections sometimes do.

P.S. Number III is my favourite.

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

Bruce Boyd (C) http://www.thewildones.co.za

Photographer: Bruce Boyd (C) http://www.thewildones.co.za

I love this poem – “Wild Horses Don’t Break” – so very much. To date it is one of the poems I’d be happy to have on my gravestone. Not that I like the idea of being buried in a cramped plot. Fling my ashes to the dunes and the sea!

The wild horses of Kleinmond are not grey/white. Most are brown. That detail was a stroke of artistic license intended to echo the seaside dunes and create the sharp image of white movement through mountain passes. There’s also something mystical about a white horse (or could this be the Celt in me surfacing?).

This post’s accompanying image is of the real wild horses of Kleinmond taken by photographer Bruce Boyd. You can view many beautiful images of Kleinmond’s wild horses in the Wild Ones online gallery. Prints of these images as well as a calendar are also available. Follow updates about the Wild Ones on FacebookA heartfelt thank you to Bruce for generously sharing his work.

Kleinmond, by the way, is a seaside town in the Overstrand, near Cape Town. It neighbours Betty’s Bay, a beautiful stretch of coastline that has inspired a few of my most personal poems:

On a rock amongst rocks
A thousand scientific facts about the sea
A quiet thought also titled In this place, I eat butternut soup

My poem “Bursting art” is quite different in tone. For its simplicity and quietness, it would be another epitaph contender.


Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

The facts of a beach-walk as seen by a poet.

Caspar David Friedrich, "Wanderer above the Sea of Fog" (1818). 94.8 × 74.8 cm, Kunsthalle Hamburg.

Caspar David Friedrich, “Wanderer above the Sea of Fog” (1818). 94.8 × 74.8 cm, Kunsthalle Hamburg.

I often write to capture moments that I have experienced in solitude. Consider for example the afternoon that produced this poem, “On a rock amongst rocks. I had walked out beyond the beach of white sand to the rocky inlet beyond the seafront houses, the fishermen and the dog owners. Each day I used this landmark as the half-way point measure of each afternoon’s walk. That day I climbed onto the rocks.

These rocks are the jagged kind. If you walk across them barefoot, a delicate tread will still not circumvent the occasional stab to your sole. The sky was grey. Into the tide-carved chasms between the rocks dashed the waves. As the wave foam tossed against the jagged rocks, a further alchemy transpired. I would not have noticed the elemental magic had I not stood on that spot in stillness.

As the sea spray dispersed, it caught the light. On the rocks, bordered by the sea, encased in this salty mist, I stood within an orbit of tiny rainbows.

 

SSA40544

A post-breakup mediation posted this time last year, but dating back further in time. The poem appears in my book Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys under the title “A quiet thought”.

Betty's Bay

A Thousand Scientific Facts

about the sea

Watch the mist-spray drift

towards the dunes:

A mother is out with

her children.

The daughter plays with

the dog breaking foam

And the little boy sits beside on a rock.

There are bluebottles along the shore today;

many cuttlefish shells;

a dead penguin, his flippers

laid out on the sand.

A few thoughts which originated during time at Silver Sands, Betty’s Bay circa April 2012.

For more of my poetry, see my first volume of published work: SHINING IN BRIGHTNESS, SELECTED POEMS, 1999 – 2012.

Follow me on Twitter. I’m @BeadedQuill.

Friedrich_Wanderer Over a Sea of Fog

On a rock amongst rocks

When the last rays fire
after which all will be still and ashed
Here, on this rock I wish to stand
to see the end of time.

From here you face due South;
face the end of the world, but
between you and then blue-grey barrels roll
toward the shore where

rocks cut the spring tide foam
into a thousand fragment sprays;
rainbows caught because
I have watched today.

The above poem was worked from the following notes, taken in early 2012 while I was enjoying the sanctity of Betty’s Bay. Betty’s, as it is affectionately known, is a small holiday town on South Africa’s southern coastline:

Today I stood on a rock amongst rocks worn flat by time and watched the spring tide. The powerful blue-grey sea rolled towards the shore and crashed against the sharper rocks ahead. The white foam sprayed a thousand fragments into the air and at that angle the sun caught the water droplets in perfect rainbows. Here, on this beach, I wish to see the end of time.

If you enjoyed the above, preview more of my poetry in my first published volume SHINING IN BRIGHTNESS: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012.

Follow my regular Tweets on writing, the creative process and poetry. I’m on Twitter as @BeadedQuill.

Image credit: “Wanderer Over a Sea of Fog,” (1817 – 1818), Caspar David Friedrich, oil on canvas, 94.8 x 74.8 cm, Collection: Kunsthalle Hamburg, Germany.

Image

In this place,

I eat butternut soup

to mend a broken heart.

There wasn’t any stock in the cupboard,

so I used Marmite instead.

With a fork I smashed the

veg pieces small

because I had no way to purée the soup.

Early this morning I picked leucodendron and fynbos leaves,

even before I did yoga,

while the dew was still out.

The birds keep flying around

the house.

Now two small birds flew in through the door

and they hop in the lounge, on the sisal floor.