What The Sea Discards

Detectorist2bWhat The Sea Discards:   Life with a Beach Metal Detector

The sea still surged,
The storm still raged,
The wind incessant,
A beast uncaged.

Amidst the tempest,
Calm, intent,
Body taut
And forward bent,

Moves this figure
With steady tread,
Seeking gold,
His daily bread.

Sift the shingle
Trawl the shore,
Seashore scavenger
Beach troubadour.

Autolycus, his
Ancient counterpart,
Plying his trade
With bleeding heart,

To find amongst
The sea’s debris
His longed for love,
Life’s golden key.

Something to clutch
Dredged from life’s tide;
A token wish,
Beatified.

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Photographs by WHB:  On a West Sussex beach – October 2017   ©

 

 

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Death Is An Unmapped Sea

IntoTheUnknown

Photo:  ‘On Chesil Beach’ by WHB – 2007   ©

 

Death is an Unmapped Sea

Day dawns and life now reasserts its sway;
Sleep ends and dreams now slowly fade away,
Leaving behind the gains which I thought real.
Reality and the sun the truth reveal,
That time has shattered youth and brought old age.
Shall I depart midst over-arching rage,
Those aspirations which I held most dear,
Abandoned now as hope gives way to fear?
Now that I’m hurt, unheard and unfulfilled,
Can I refute those truths my life distilled,
And face what unmapped seas fate holds in store,
Without a faith to bear me to the shore?

 

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Summer Geese

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Painting in acrylic by Canadian artist, Alma Kerr – October 2017  ©

SUMMER  GEESE

 

I walk not with the summer geese

but I follow them

as they make their stately way

along the water’s edge

through the incoming waves

towards the seagrass

 

So beautiful

this sense that Nature and I

Are aligned

Working to the same end

Coupled in a determination

To follow our will

Into whatever the future will bring

 

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Poem composed in collaboration between Alma and Roland – November 2017

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A Trawler’s Resting Place

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Photograph at the Stade, Hastings, by WHB – October 2017   ©

 

THE STADE  (Hastings)

A Trawler’s Resting Place

 

desolate and deconstructed
now at rest
my remnant life
so inexorably sea-linked 
still confronted
and yet consoled
by those waves
forever beating
on the shingle
of my shore

here on the stade
in the first throes of death
it is my destined fate
to pass on my faith
to those who succeed me

for hope exists
rebirth is on offer
amidst the rigours
of a relentless sea
on my pebbled bed
above the tides
prow still proudly fronting
those endless tides
white waves
bursting at my bows

resting at last
only my memories
trawling my sea-going past
recapturing the rapture
of my vibrant youth
the courageous tenor
of my old life
now entombed
beside my brethren
brothers in desuetude
companions of my death in life
the mystery of my history
encapsulated in this
maritime minster
my tomb inscribed
with my exploits
embedded
within the planking of my hull
and the bulkheads of my carcass

but … no shipshape shrine
rather sea-scavengers paradise
Davy Jones the organ donor
salty entrails examined
my sea-going body parts
prized and picked over
human gulls
ancient sea-dog mariners
making claim again
to my once upon a time worth
my parts in death available
transplanting hope
bringing new life to old

what the sea has not already claimed
remains
to tempt a new generation
regeneration offered
my hull disembowelled
stripped to its frame
rust freed
reclaimed
renamed
fading sea-life re-empowered
man’s eternal battle with the sea
love-hate affirmed
continued and confirmed
empowering new sea ventures

harbingers of a new generation
to be subjected once more
to the ocean’s
recondite whim
and arcane  grace

 

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Sea Fever – by John Masefield

(No.56 of my favourite short poems)

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‘Sea Fever’ . . . WHB: Pen & Wash – Sep., 2017

Sea Fever

 

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

 

By John Masefield


 

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‘Sea Fever’ is perhaps the best known of all the poetic works of John Masefield.  Born in Herefordshire, England, in 1878, he was the British poet laureate for 37 years in the middle of the 20th Century until his death in 1967.   As a young man he trained as a merchant seaman, but, in 1895, he deserted his ship when in New York City.  There he worked in a carpet factory before returning to London to write poems, in many of which he wrote about his experiences at sea.

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Creative Occlusion

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‘Moon,Sea & Shore’ … Pen – WHB: Aug.2017

CREATIVE OCCLUSION

When the urge lies with me
To feed a need
With willing words
Then will my mind engage
With my pen
And satisfaction follow

But when that dire wound
Of vacuity descends to
Afflict my thoughts
Then I become
As the waves of the sea
Forever seeking to breast the shore
Forever conceding
To the pulse of the moon

 

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SELKIE-The Seal Woman – 2

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©   ‘Selkie’ … Coloured Pen – WHB – August 2017

 

SELKIE-The Seal Woman

PART THE SECOND

 

Now
As the surge of the swollen sea
Sweeps the shore
I scan the rolling waves
For a sign of her presence
A hint of her salt-scent
Her seal-self
The searing splash of her tail
As it breaks the foam’s crest

I sense the silky soft touch of her skin
I know she is there
I sense her nearness
In the clutching drift of the current

The sound of her muted cry
wafting to me with the wistful wind
Towards my rock
Her rock
Our rock
The anchor connecting our two realities
The link
Ocean-forged
Wind-weathered
Sun-scorched
Heart-touched
Communion binding us
In those few delicious moments
When our worlds merge
And we become as one

Creatures of neither sea nor land
Melded in Earth’s memory
To exist for ever
In legend

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SELKIE-The Seal Woman – 1

SELKIES (said to be a diminutive form of the Scottish word for ‘seal’) are mythical creatures which feature in much Celtic literature and folklore.  These stories and the alleged sightings of these shape-shifting creatures are mostly centred on the Hebridean Islands of Scotland and the island groups of the Orkneys, the Shetlands, and further north in the Faroe Islands and around the Icelandic coastline.

Sea-going and fishing communities in these places have their stories to tell about these creatures.  Unlike mermaids, they are not half-human and half-fish.  Selkies, both male and female, are said to live as seals when in the sea, but shed their skin to become humans when on land.

 The legend takes many different forms, but it is generally thought that whenever a selkie and a human meet when both are in human form, the two will always fall in love. Such tales, however, never have a happy ending as the selkie will always at some point have to answer the call of the sea.  Even if their human partner hides the seal skin away, then, as soon as it is discovered, the Selkie will be unable to resist returning to its life as a seal, often leaving his or her children behind.

 Some interpretations of the legends maintain that, in this way, many sea-faring families, having lost their father, brother, grandfather at sea and the body never being recovered, explain the absence to the children as their loved one having re-joined the seal community (‘Gone to join the seal folk’) and will one day return.

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By the sculptor Hans Pauli Olsen – ‘The Seal Woman of Mikladalur’ statue on Kalsoy (2014).  In old Faroese folklore it was believed that at certain times the seals came out of the sea, stripped their seal-skins and became real human beings, dancing on the shore. But before sunrise they had to take on their skins again to be able to return to the sea – their natural element.

SELKIE-The Seal Woman

 PART THE FIRST

She came to me from the Sea
shedding her sealskin
on that rock
A gift vouchsafed from the depths
with the alluring tang of the ocean
She captured my innocence
captivated my soul
absorbed my whole being

Communion we had to excess
our feelings of love unexplained
brought us a peace which neither had known
contentment in each other’s warmth

Then I had thought she was mine
to cherish and to love
to share time
and histories
to plan a life together

But it was not to be
her hidden sealskin discovered
she was compelled to answer
the call of the waves

It could not be for ever
our short-lived passion spent
foregone
Hope and desire
subsumed by time
by the sea’s imperative

So I lost her to the ocean
no more was she mine
only my memories remained
I had to grant
respect for her freedom
her heritage
seek solace in memory
and bury my hopes
in the swell of the sea

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 PART The Second – to be published tomorrow . . .

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Nature’s Evensong

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©  Photograph … ‘Sunset’ – courtesy of Canadian artist, Alma Kerr

 

Sunset

and the soulful sound

of the sea

seduce my senses

in the calm

of this still summer’s eve

ripples roll gently towards me

from the red sun-kissed sea

silhouette sails

hug the horizon

purposeful gulls

tread the foreshore

forever watchful

while I

a silent spectator

scan the scene

evening’s tableau

serene

and yet wholly alive

entranced and awed

mesmerised

beyond beauty

by Nature’s evensong

its benediction

on a desperate world

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The Torch I Carry

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‘The Depths Of The Sea’ (The Lure Of The Sirens’) … Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones (1881)

THE TORCH I CARRY

I carry a torch for the ocean,
In her relentless swell I am held;
My light will see me to the foreshore
Where vast wave and mild ripple meld.

For though my love’s unrequited,
As I walk on the shore by the sea,
The sight and the sound of her motion
Bring solace and hope back to me.

For when I watch her crescendo
Its beauty and force I admire;
The sigh and the roar of her surges
Are those of a celestial choir.

My heart is in thrall to her passion,
Her awesome breakers I ride;
White horses call me ever forward
To meet the turn of the tide.

And when she is still as a millpond
My senses respond in repose;
My life consummates in devotion,
All yearning brought to a close.

Yes, the lure of the Siren defeats me;
I am snared by her destructive song.

I have given my all to her beauty;
Now only to her I belong.

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