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.
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.
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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.