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Monday 8 April 2013

A mind forever Voyaging through strange
seas of Thought, alone.

A Birthday in April ~ Wordsworth

Prompt from The Imaginary Garden with Real Toads
(The first of three posts which will celebrate the life of a
poet or author who was born in April.)

The title of my poem is a line from Wordsworth, one of several offered as inspiration.

There are thoughts that run like rip tides through the brain
and carry you far from the firm and reassuring land.
The swimmer here is far beyond his natural depth
and struggles, kicking in blind panic at
the images that lurk below the surface or attack
your preconceptions from their skyward mounting waves that lift you high
until you're dizzy from the visions that you see
as you look down from God-like heights through many a
pooling green or blue into a world of flying fish with monkey faces,
whales with horns and crabs with buckets -- the J.C.B.s of their
unlikely worlds. Between your high enlightenment and that
great darkness far below, a net of foamy white lines stretches
out across the surface of the sea in patterns such as fish scales make
on creatures that you can't describe, an ocean wide.
It's thought made visible perhaps, a watery script
that someone may decode, of how a dolphin thinks.
A slight wind ruffles, rearranges them;
new insights surface that had lain below.

Though few and far between and lucky you will be if you can catch one
of the thought tsunamis. Like summer storms on land
they rise from nowhere, sweep you half a world off course
and shatter every dated thought-form that you ever had.
They'll leave you crumpled on some rocky shore with
a whole world of concepts to rebuild. Once back afloat,
words, shapes, sounds, smells and surfaces flow round you,
round up past associations and form new. Connections made
that never were before. Cross currents slap and suck,
their slackening waters slow your headway, but the slowness is
the point, the sea now has you in its arms.
It curdles even as it cradles you. Others will play safe,
will make the voyage in a boat or on a raft.
Such thought is not immediate, it cannot take you
by the throat or simulate the drowning of your ancient past,
the freedom that the waves give
to the thought that dies, only to give birth.


Elephant's Child said...

I have been caught by a thought tsunami often and often - and thrown up on land miles from where I thought I was heading.
Thank you Dave, I loved this.

Other Mary said...

This is really deep Dave. Haha, sorry I couldn't resist. What a beautiful and complex and apt metaphor...and so well crafted.

Brian Miller said...

ah lucky you are indeed to catch that thought, like a wave, ride it for all it is worth and what it will bring you...much better than languishing in a still puddle...very well written sir

Mary said...

This is an amazing poem, Dave. I love the idea of thinking of thoughts running like rip tides & also the luck of those who catch a 'thought tsunami." "Curdles even as it cradles" -- yes! And I was awed by the idea that thoughts die, only to give birth.....just like those waves! Truly enjoyed this one, Dave.

Kerry O'Connor said...

You sustained the metaphor throughout the poem with many interesting images and ideas. The opening lines were excellent and took us to the place of your imaginative experience.

Hannah Stephenson said...

A case of the old "brain rip tides," eh? What a wonderful way to say "inspiration"!

hedgewitch said...

So much tumultuous movement in this, image jostling image, like flotsam in an agitated barrel, exploding out in a vast fountain. There's no real ego 'thinking' when something that immense happens, I think, we merely conceive, as your last line indicates. A stimulating take on the quote, definitely.

Carl said...

These thought Tsunamis... You could easily be describing dreams here. Wonderful read.

Janine Bollée said...

A bit of Lucy in the sky with diamonds.
Happily most unlike WW.

Cloudia said...

Death birth winter spring....life!


ds said...

Ah, the thought-tsunamis of the sea of dreams (well, subconscious). "It curdles even as it cradles you." love that line, especially. Terrific stuff, sir. Thank you.

haricot said...

According to some theories our origin came from the ocean, and your lines beautifully and powerfully make me rethink about it...

Ygraine said...

How wonderful to ride such fluid thoughts...tsunamis of the mind indeed...so much better than languishing in still and stagnant waters.
Oh what a fabulous mind!
This is amazing...:)

Dave King said...

Elephant's Child
Thanks so much for this - really a delightful comment.

Other Mary
Love the pun. Much thanks for it and the comment.

Yes, I think that is the tactic: ride each thought as far as it will go.

Thanks for this Mary. It is really marvellous to get such comments. The waves that die and then give birth idea came out of the blue when the poem was al but finished.

Thank you Kerry for a very generous response. Great to have you commenting.

Hi, and a warm welcome to you. Thank you for your thoughts on the poem. I'm wondering if you meant rip tides from "the old brain" (as opposed to the "new"). If so, it is a distinction I had not thought of, but just might be worth pursuing.

Hmmm, I really appreciate this comment for its exact perceptions of the piece and their implications. You have given me something to chew upon, for which much thanks.

Hmmm, wouldn't it be wonderful to have such a dream? (Until you woke up, of course!)

Ah, well now, I'm not sure I've worked this out entirely!

Yeah, that just about sums it up!

Hi, and a warm welcome. Thank you for the response and the excellent point made re dreams coming to the surface. Yes, I agree: thinking evolves and renews itself. Good to have had your thoughts.

Thank you so much for saying this.

Yes, I think it is generally accepted that the ocean was the beginning of all life. Could be that is why it exerts such a strong pull on us (some of us?) even now.

Yes, I think so. As a young child I often imagined myself swimming miles in some tumultuous ocean.
The drive is very deep, I think.

Leovi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leovi said...

My inspiration I often presented as a summer storm, sometimes catches me with camera in hand, sometimes not.