Archives for posts with tag: sea
This image, courtesy of HelloSprout, is a handmade card and available for purchase from etsy.com. See http://etsy.me/r1D7Vd

This image, courtesy of HelloSprout, is a handmade card and available for purchase from etsy.com. See http://etsy.me/r1D7Vd

To feel
waves
must crash
if they thirst for the shore;
they must trip stones smooth,
burst jagged hands,
pierce the stretch strain
of speckled beanskins
learning the ground.

The walker must trip.

2003,
after Las Vegas, Death Valley and Flagstaff, USA

“Knowledge” appears in Shining in Brightness (2013), my first book of poetry.

It is one of the self-identified process poems that were included as snapshots of my period of adolescent whimsy. They are the very sort of poems a creative writing seminar tutor or professor would probably rip to shreds and ban one from showing to the world. In defiance, I have posted “Knowledge” for you here. I have also posted it because it came to mind while I was preparing Thursday’s post. This is a fresh poem that mentions a trip of a different sort, but also touches on the themes of time and process.

Please do return and read “Time tripped”, the new poem which is scheduled for Thursday.

T: @BeadedQuill
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By Daderot (Own work) [Public domain or CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Photograph of an Edo period work, 18th-19th century Japan by Daderot (Own work) [Public domain or CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

It was very suspicious
the way that whale
rolled over and opened
its mouth for tips,
then set fireworks
to the water gods
from its blowhole.

Whales have featured in my poetry before. Like sluice gates and bears, whales prefigure as a childhood fascination. In my first or second year of school, we learnt about blue whales. They were enormous yet ate such small food with little effort through their sieve-mouths. Either in conjunction with the curriculum topic or with my family I must have visited the South African Natural History Museum where there was (and still is) the large skeleton of a blue whale. Alongside was a booth in which recordings were played of whales in communication. These creatures had a language, which I could not penetrate. I was in awe.

Southern Right whales come into the sheltered bays around Cape Town to calf. Whale watching is a notable annual event. I still think about a particular train journey from Simon’s Town, past Glencairn, when I saw two majestic whales dancing in the ocean and spouting the fireworks from their blowholes.

So it is that whales crop up every now and then in my musing, in my writing and even in my dreams.

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

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

OldDesignShop_EasterBride1914BW

Image courtesy of the Old Design Shop, a vintage image treasury.

To the Valleys” describes the return of hard-working hartebeests who hope to woo brides back in their home village. I wrote this poem last year after “I do. Do you?” another imagined narrative about a wedding that did not come to pass.

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
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Books available through BeadedQuill’s Blurb Bookshop

Seashell unknown 3.jpg
Seashell unknown 3” by WilfredorOwn work. Licensed under CC0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Time and tide, a mermaid’s song

The tides go out.
Can you hear me?
The waves roll back –
Did you know? –
with the shells discarded that morning:
reclaimed nonpareils for below.


Mermaids and singing maidens have featured before in my poems, as have the sea’s tides and waves. When I use the sea as a setting, sometimes it is simply a fantastical location – a kingdom for the imagination. On other occasions it is based closely or loosely on a real place, such as Betty’s Bay. In the case of this poem, I was thinking about Shelly Beach at Betty’s. At this rocky shoreline inlet, the tides bring in tiny shells in pinks, reds and browns. The shells arrive varnished by the wet waves and glisten like nonpareils (or 100s and 1000s, as we knew them as kids). When the tide comes up, the waves reclaim these pretty treasures. Like decisive hands, the powerful backwash drags the shells into the water.

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

Another beauty courtesy of the Old Design Shop, a vintage image treasury.

Another beauty courtesy of the Old Design Shop, a vintage image treasury.

Tall ship

Ready your largest sail.
Today promises high winds!

The snow blew in.
The black waves froze darting shoals.
We’ve come to the end of our time.


I’m in the mood for sailing seas. The forthcoming Tall Ships Festival at Greenwich strikes part of me as something interesting.

Today it’s been a drizzly bank holiday Monday. I shall be off in a moment. All else that I’ve done with today was sort my closet, repair some clothes and leave the house to forage at Budgens. I returned a packet of marked down asparagus, half-a-dozen eggs and a bag of apples. I still need soya milk for tomorrow’s bowl of breakfast oats.

I’m in the mood for catching high winds.

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

Carl Larsson [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Carl Larsson (1853-1919) ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Let the line commence
with a word other than
I, the usual post to fence in
paths that buoy and bob in
hand-drawn bows

and curving scythes:
a writer’s promenade.

If I don’t write on lined-paper or have a guiding template sheet behind any blank page on which I write, my sentences will start to bend and curve like rainbows from left to right across the page.

It’s this, along with the tendency to begin a great many thoughts and sentences with “I”, that precipitated today’s poem.

T: @BeadedQuill
F: BeadedQuill
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Poems inspired by sea creatures

This poem about scales is a mash-up of ideas about old flames and red herrings. Strangely, yesterday I also wrote about sea creatures. In ‘New ink cartridges‘ I paired cephalopods with writing in black ink.

The image of fish scales is courtesy of Wikicommons Media and photographed by Rajesh danji. View the original image here. You can view Rajesh’s work on his photo blog, Banglore Photo Daily.

“Mollusca: Octopus, squid, nautilus, and cuttlefish” from The Animal Kingdom, Baron Cuvier, 1834. Image courtesy of Biomedical Ephemera.

From one side of the pool
to the other,
pacific waves cursive;
held by rocks hard-backed in blue.
A visiting squid squirts ink 
fresh and black.
A pseudomorph arrows from the nib.

26/06/2014


For Christmas ‘Secret Santa’ gave me a dinky, frosted pink fountain pen. It’s small; probably about 8cm in length. Its micro-cartridges only last about a dozen A4 pages, which spans two to three days of writing in my world. The half-a-dozen cartridges that came with the pen were used up long ago. I have been without ink for nearly six months, so today I decided to re-stock.

For £1,99 I bought a bag of 50 cartridges from Ryman’s on the Strand. This is the first poem from that bag of ink-filled plastic bullets now sitting on my desk.

Here’s a link about the ink-squirting of cephalopods. I’ll leave you to peer into the metaphorical rock pool and make sense of the squid and its pseudomorph.

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

Nos Liberavit

“the maiden’s voice soars
and plunges
as she elongates the siren call”

Image “Midnight Harp” courtesy of Esmira