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Sea Solace

by Lyra 

Posted: 13 December 2009
Word Count: 66


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Seemingly serene,
waves whisper wild things.
Crush the sand,
bring deep sea treasures.
Water winds its way through my thoughts.

A sudden cry of discovery
A chalk pencil to turn a black pebble white
And ugly stones transformed into jewels.

Wending our way home with chatter,
a charity shop and books.
Spell broken
Crying now, unreconcilable.
Mistakes made and everything unravelled
Sea please return to me.






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Comments by other Members



James Graham at 16:32 on 16 December 2009  Report this post
Hi Lyra- Welcome to the group. I like this poem on first reading, but will come back with a longer comment in a day or two. Busy time just now!

Would that be Lyra Belacqua?

James.

Lyra at 22:16 on 17 December 2009  Report this post
Hello James

It is a busy time at the moment but thought I would post a poem before Christmas arrives!
It is indeed Lyra Belacqua, my favourite heroine from some brilliant books, wish I had her courage sometimes.

My name is actually Katie and I really want to get some more time for my writing, am planning to anyway in the New Year, thank you for your brief comment and will look forward to some more feedback

Katie

James Graham at 12:13 on 20 December 2009  Report this post
There are several features of this poem that appeal to me very much. The very first thing is its clarity - everything is simply and clearly expressed. Then I notice the structure - a stanza about the sea and the narrator’s imaginative take on it; three rather special lines about pebbles and stones (more on this to follow); and a sketch of an emotional crisis, probably one of those lovers’ tiffs which can seem catastrophic; then ending with the sea again, a longing for it and what it represents. This way of wrapping up a poem by making the last line echo the opening, or the title, can sometimes seem artificial, but not at all in this poem - it’s a very natural way to end it.

Your middle three-line section deserves special mention. What I like so much is the way you use something very concrete to convey something abstract. This is a moment of joy that we are witnessing, but the poem doesn’t talk abstractly about joy or delight, or spell out the feelings in any way. Instead, we are given a vivid glimpse of what was actually happening: someone (the narrator or someone else) decorates pebbles so that they are ‘transformed into jewels’. These lines stopped me in my tracks (a) because of their concreteness and the way feeling is implied and not stated; and (b) because of the inventiveness - maybe I should say originality - of the idea . There’s quite a depth of meaning to this, not least when we realise that the transformation of the stones can imply a transformation of mood. The opening lines about the sea are satisfying but quite pensive - a touch philosophical - but the middle three lines are joyful.

I also like the economy of the poem:

Wending our way home with chatter,
a charity shop and books.
Spell broken
Crying now, unreconcilable.


If this were a prose short story, that part of the narrative could easily spin out to a page and a half. But you manage to compress a sequence of events into a few short lines. You tell us all we need to know. What exactly it was that broke the spell doesn’t matter; a short story would no doubt give us the details, but poetry works by sparking off the reader’s imagination: telling us just enough to allow us - encourage us - to fill in the rest for ourselves. I think your judgement was very good in these lines - they tell the story in a ‘poetic’ way rather than a ‘fictional’ way, making a few words count for quite a lot, and leaving things open for the play of the reader’s imagination. I certainly brought experiences of my own to these lines, and felt some of the confusion and sadness that are brought on by episodes like this.

A random observation. Were you aware of the echo between ‘A sudden cry of discovery’ and ‘Crying now, unreconcilable’ - two very different cries, but linking happiness with unhappiness. If you did that deliberately, congratulations - it’s a nice touch. If not - the nice touch is there anyway!

The one part of the poem where I think you could look for improvement is the first five lines - really just lines 4 and 5. ‘Bring’ seems a weak word, after the ‘wild’ connotations of the sea, so I suggest ‘haul’. I’d put a comma rather than a full stop after ‘things’ as these lines list things the sea does. In the fifth line, the image of water ‘winding’ through thoughts also seems a bit weak. You might consider a stronger idea here, something that suggests irrigation - water feeding the roots of thought; water sinking into dry soil, water cooling hot dry earth. Even if it meant adding an extra line, an idea like this would be more of a prelude to the lines about the pebbles. In a metaphorical sense the sea would seem to bring the narrator’s imagination to life. Indirectly it would strengthen the last line of the poem too, making it more of a longing for spiritual sustenance.

I don’t know how long you’ve been writing poetry, but this doesn’t read like a beginner’s work. Let me know what you think of any of the points I’ve made.

James.

Lyra at 13:11 on 20 December 2009  Report this post
Thank you James for your comments especially as so many of them are positive ones, really good to hear that the essence of the poem comes through so strongly.
I have written poetry on and off for about 20 years now but very sporadically, so no it is not my first poem, do want to write more regularly and maybe get some published one day.
I will have another look at lines 4/5 and try rewriting them, agree they are the weakest ones,
Katie


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