…but there is a line
You must not cross nor ever trust beyond it
Spry cordage of your bodies to caresses
…The bottom of the sea is cruel
Hart Crane ~ Voyages I
It was always enough just to see the sea to stand mesmerized at a lapping tide the tickle of water coiling ankle deep and that motion near and far, near and far - then marking out the last line of defence we'd bucket up a castle where weed and shell lay drying. I like to watch the waves circle and stalk the rocks like wolves slinking through cracks, leaping crevices just to linger on sandy bottoms in pools and in these dioramas, a small diver's world crab, shrimp, snail, a fish head and always gory red anemones tentacles withdrawn. It's more than enough just to paddle barefoot for the deep stows its perils and there beyond the sandbars a myriad wrecks crumble down the ages. Out on the horizon, a swift summer storm joins forces with the sea, to fling and swamp the little sailboats silent running for the shore.
Winslow Homer’s Summer Squall inspires this poem – one of Merril’s options for her Poetics prompt: Sun, Sand, Storms, and Celebrations: Summer Ekphrastic
29 thoughts on “an insidious sea”
I love this poem, Laura. It’s funny because I was recently discussing with someone how I’m drawn to water, but I don’t really swim. Your first stanza was so vivid with the motion, that I actually got a bit woozy. But it’s your second stanza that really stands out for me. Such great imagery–those stalking wolf-waves! Wonderful!
we are water watchers Merril – watching the lupine waves 😉 thank you for this prompt – it summoned the best of sea feelings for me
We are water watchers. I walk by the river nearly every day here, and when I’m at the beach, I could stare at the waves for hours.
I’m so pleased you liked the prompt!
How mesmerizing to watch the sea and get lost in the rocking motion. You delicately described the energy of the waves in the second stanza. What a treasure from the perspective of the diver’s world.
thank you Grace – the movement of the sea is so hypnotic
The sense of just watching… and then imagining the things underneath, maybe the peril (real of imagined) is part of what pulls us closer.
part of the fascination
Lovely write Laura. The sense and temptation of all those dangerous imagined realms (and perhaps the act of imagination itself). And the Hart Crane epigraph – wonderfully sadly ironic – given that he died by walking off the end of a ship.
many thanks Peter – I suppose that is it – standing safe on the shore considering the dangers! thank you for the Crane update – even more ironic that I chose it too
Just watching that and feeling the motion is enough. It’s plenty. This is so lovely.
thank you Selma for shore gazing with me 😉
One must give the sea it’s due. It ca surprise you.
I really like the image of waves stalking the rocks. (K)
the sea eternally fascinates and surprises K – not always pleasantly, hence the stalking wolves 😉
It took my sketchbook away last summer…
must have loved your art 😉
I never thought of it that way, but of course!
Very well written. I thought this was an intriguing painting.
many thanks Roth
You are welcome!
We all love the Potthast shore and fear the Winslow … but Crane, like Melville, knew that truth was in the depths, and the poem’s imagined depth is off the bridge of a ship or down a flight of stairs. So what are we to do with those glowing, perfect shores? Well done – Brendan
lots to chew on with your feedback Brendan – thank you
Reading the first two stanzas made me wonder which picture you’d chosen, and then the last one pulled it all together. It made me think about how hard it is to balance the small pleasures of a comfortable life with the storms out there. But if we don’t enjoy those miniature dioramas, what is the point of it all?
a good question Sarah –
The sea is an enchanting enigma and you’ve displayed it fabulously here, Laura!
the enigma of beautiful and terrible – thank you Lynn –
I adore the visual of waves stalking and circling simultaneously engaging yet terrifying. Your words as intriguing as the sea itself.
I really appreciated this comment – thank you!
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