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Monday 8 February 2010

Death and the Ocean

Death, boundless ocean -
and every man an island.
I love the sea for what it is,
the way it pounds the rocks
to grit; the way the sand grains
in its grip fly light as ash
in every wind; the way it roars -
a cornered lion that flings
itself against the land;
the way it sidles off some days
to scrape its teeth on undigested
seaweed in the bay.

Yet death is more than mere extinction.
If it was only that
it would not seethe with life,
it would not baffle us with contradictions.
We know it by its darkness,
vastness, power;
we feel the raw emotion
by means of which it offers
false credentials
and conceals its softer side.
We cannot fully understand
why such a friendly enemy
so fascinates with fear.

It nurtures dolphins in its breast,
for instance. You will know
how their strange sonar blips
can build a world that neither we
nor oceans apprehend?
But more than that, they beam
those images between each other,
share them with their cousins miles away -
at times with other dolphins
swimming in far distant seas.

If only we could have a sight
of what would be
a visionary image, see
the whole, grand, inward structure
of our future depths -
that may or may not come to be...


Are the PIGS like bankers
too big to fail?
(Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain)


jack sender said...

when you open for comments you subject yourself to all sorts of things.

here - i want this much for me because it is wonderful.

i love the sea for what it is
the way it pounds the rocks
the way the sand grains in its grip
fly light as ash
and darn my socks
wait, that’s not right….. oh,wait, here we go

fly light as ash in every wind
the way it roars,
a cornered lion
that flings itself against the land,
the way it sidles off some days
to scrap it’s teeth on undigested
seaweed in the bay

the other parts are fine also, but i can only think in little pieces.

Karen said...

Like Jack Sender, I was really drawn to those lines for themselves and for the understanding they bring to the rest of the poem. The comparison is apt, well fleshed, and powerful.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Dave - as usual you have done splendidly. As Johnnie Dankworth has just died this weekend I found the poem all the more poignant -

Carl said...

Hi Dave
You are on a powerful roll of late. Really top notch stuff. do you think the daily haiku have sharpened an already strong poets gifts?


Unknown said...

I agree with Carl: your poems seem even stronger than usual of late. This is very good-- a fine example of sound & sense!

Anonymous said...

interesting post. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did any one know that some chinese hacker had busted twitter yesterday again.

Kass said...

Wonderful poem. I read it over and over. It's interesting I had to find out here from The Weaver of Grass that John Dankworth had died. I think the concert Cleo Laine and daughter did moments after he died without telling the audience of his death until the end is poem-worthy.

gerry boyd said...

The first stanza of this is just stunning. Measured, restrained, and stunning. Bravo!

Jim Murdoch said...

Powerful imagery here. I especially like the contradiction presented at the opening of the second stanza. For some reason I got stuck on the dolphins. I kept wondering what death's dolphins might be. Not a criticism, just thinking out loud.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Dave, you are grasping a subject here, in this very lyric and moving work, that has been close to me for years. I am going to dedicate a post to it with a poem of mine, once more as an "answer".

Ronda Laveen said...

Great discription of the dolphins world. I would love to be in theirs for even 10 minutes.

Rosaria Williams said...

I have been rejected by your blog for the last few weeks. I finally had to drop you and then add you again. All these tricks, just so I could leave comments like this.

Ah! Let's see if this sticks.

Anonymous said...

Wow. That was a great post. Loved it...:)

Have a wonderful day!

Unknown said...

Hi Dave,

A great poem as everyone says, particularly the first stanza. Good haiku too!

Felicitas said...

Wow! I love the comparison between death and the ocean. And I absolutely agree with your arguements for death being "more than mere extinction."

Truly beautiful work!

Dave King said...

The truth of your opening observation is ever with me - as are its attendant anxieties.
Many thanks for relieving those anxieties with the rest of your post.

They were the first written - and, yes I did find them difficult to follow.

The Weaver of Grass
I wanted to do something on Johnny Dankworth, but left it to those more fitted.

I don't know about "already strong poetic gifts", but I think maybe they are doing what scales do for a musician. Or maybe training for a footballer? - And I think the roll might be nearing its end!

Many tthanks for the vote - all gratefully received!

Didn't know that. Might have made it the subject of my Haiku! Thanks for commenting.

I think it is well poem-worthy.

Welcome and very many thanks.

Thanks Jim and yes, I do take the point. I was trying to work the death/ocean metaphor a bit harder without labouring it, but it did occur to me that I might be running exactly thta risk, so the comment is very helpful. I may give it a week or two and then see if anything else occurs.

I shall look forwad to reading it. Thanks for the interest.

Mmm, me too!

So sorry to ear this. I know ho
w frustrating it can be, having had the same prob' myself on other blogs. Many thanks for persevering. It is much appreciated.

Mr Stupid
Hi and welcome. Many thanks for visiting and for the comment.

Thanks a lot. helpful.

A very warm welcome to my blog. My thaanks to yu for visiting and for stopping by to comment. Very generous words.

Kay said...

keep em coming!

Dave King said...

Thanks Kay. Will do my best.

Marinela said...

Hi Dave
I just love your place here,truly great work!

Tabor said...

This poem was like a photograph for me. The grains of sand becoming ash in the wind...I just saw that one evening recently. Lovely poem.