Sea of Memory

on Tuesday, July 22, 2008

From time to time, I try my hand at poetry. I wish I could truly write poetry well but if it wasn't for the encouragement of some of you when I first started on this blog, I would not be writing poetry at all. Before this, the last time I wrote poetry on a regular basis was in school which was of course decades ago. My older attempts at poetry in this blog can be seen if you select poetry in my sidebar list of post labels.

Here is my latest. Almost all my poems are dark so I thought I would try a happy poem. Unfortunately, my dark side was too strong and it emerged to hijack the final verse.

There was a world with wonders filled that lay beside the sea,

Where I had spent my carefree youth in joyful discovery.

For whether at the waters edge, where the gentle waves lap,

Or under the shade of the coconut, so perfect for a nap,

In either place, I would find treasures and surprises,

Hermit crabs and shiny shells of different shape and sizes.

When the tide was in and the waters high, laughter rang out loud

While we swam and raced or rode the waves or simply splashed about.

But nor was it less a joy when the waters were low,

For living pools full of life were left behind by the flow,

With waters warm and creatures aplenty, a discoverer’s paradise,

From burrowing crabs to scampering shrimp or tiny fish fries.

A short swim away lay an isle, my personal pirate haven,

I built castles here, forged the lands of my rich imagination.

Away from prying eyes, I planned my many grand adventures,

The dense mangrove on the far side, ideal for burying treasures

I even had fun making tiny crabs run by throwing mud at them.

Could this place in a young boy’s eyes be anything but heaven?

But heaven it seemed has been invaded and its bounty ravaged by man,

The beach is now filthy, the water murky and there is a swimming ban.

No more to be seen are the crabs, the shrimp and the little fishes,

All around is development and the bay takes all the abuse that it dishes

I see a boy who despite it all bravely wades into the sickly sea

And wonder if he knows what has been lost to "Progress" with a capital "P".


VioletSky said...

Paradise squandered.

Joyce's Ramblings said...

Memories of youth are often spoiled late in life
so that is why we keep our memories and reality in back.

Dr.John said...

That is a dark ending indeed. But the boyhood memories are great.

Marja said...

I love the lightness and joy of the words in the beginning I also love that you question Progress with the capital P. Great piece

Molly said...

Sad to see places we loved ruined by "progress."

Janice Thomson said...

This is excellent and rather than 'dark' as you call the ending, I see it as the simple truth. I felt your yearning to have back those days when the waters were clear and your imagination ran wild. The truth is not always what we want it to be - to avoid it is to live in a dream world.
Well done LGS!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Yes, exactly.

Too often true but it shouldn't have to be. As adults, don't we always say we want our children to have abetter life? How can this be if we destroy these treasures?

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

dr. john,
Thanks for appreciting the dark and the light.

Thank you. Progress is valueless if it does not improve our lives.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I was really being polite about progress cause I feel it is more like rape.

Your comments on my poems are always treated like manna from heaven....precious and nourishing. Thanks. I am however, a bit of a dreamer.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the walking man said...

Honestly? I like what you are saying throughout but not so much the way you say it.

I know the tendency to rhyme is prevalent in most who don't write a lot of poetry but the scheme here is broken because of the stretch to make your last words in each line sound the same.

I personally think that this would be better said as free verse with no real rhyme scheme.

*shrug* just my personal tastes I suppose. Yet Squirrel I DO respect highly what you say and the effort you put in here.

"All around is development and the bay takes all the abuse that it dishes"

All around this once bay of beauty is abuse served on development dishes...this is how I would put this line for example.

Claire said...

Oh Squirrel, I sympathize. The forest and creek where I frolicked as a child was rolled over for Progress. It's now a shopping mall. So very, very sad. And people here in NorCal wonder why I'm against drilling for oil in Alaska and off the coast? Is there not one place on Earth that can remain unspoiled? The truth is dark I'm afraid.

MedStudentWife said...

Its excellent,LGS.... tells of what was and how it is now. And bleakly now is no longer what what was.

Keep up the poetry.... its not suppose to be happy or sad or anything... its just another way to frame and speak your thoughts and ideas and images.

I say keep it up !!!!! :D

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Thanks for the feedback it is much appreciated. I do realise what you say to be true. And from your example, I also realise that I an far too literal and need to be more symbolic or stylised in my writing. I wonder if you could recommend a couple of your poems that I could study a little more in depth that you feel illustrate the points you have made?

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

While my childhood playing ground was actually a squatter colony and not as pretty as your forest and creek, it was a friendly place and kids could roam and play in the open fields around the houses. Today, it too is a shopping mall and a elite one too which won't even allow children to loiter around. Ditto your thoughts on Alaska.

Thanks for the encouragement. My best poetry is dark. This happy poem for example comes across for me as a little trivial.

the walking man said...

Mark C. Durfee

Upon my path I entered a garden gate and I could see the grass was neatly mowed. Places where the ground had been dug up, had been sodded or seeded to make the ground look completely green and rightly growed.

The only place where the grass was a bit shabby looking and higher was where the mower could not get in close to the headstones resting there. Someone who cared, if there were any left, would have to get on their knees and trim with shears, to take care of the little mess by trimming close in around the tombstones laid out in row after row.

Someone would have to come in and trim the tufts of grass to make the lawn perfect and even the green left by what mower had missed as it mowed.

It seemed a quiet enough place though where I could walk and think and slowly pace among the mounds where nothing moved. There was no sound. No breeze through the leafless limbs of the trees, no birdsong, only the quiet and solitude of a place meant to ponder and think. I, then as moved further up the path began to get curious about what or who had been buried here, wondering if they were remembered or known.

I began to see the names of the things buried in this place and to the left of me carved neatly on a stone of polished granite was the single word compassion, to my right was fairness and next to it civility. I was curious now and went deeper into this place and saw more stones carved by a master hand and upon them were words like truth and honesty and still another that said goodness and next to it was humility.
What strange names these stones had upon them, row after row of single words with no dates of birth or death, just a lone word to attest to what was buried ‘neath the tended grass covering the wormy earth
I began to see it was not a normal place of the dead, there were no flower or remberences laid neatly upon the graves. Just neatly mowed grass with the bit that still needed tending, row after row unending. Walking slower but going further still I came to more headstones that had love, trust, respect, peace and, kindness carved upon them.
I had long lost sight of the garden gate and saw a bit further up the path just beyond the headstones that said caring and sharing a bench of black obsidian and I decided to rest after having seen the names of the things buried in this place.
I sat upon the bench with my head in my hands and wondered what had brought these things to this place. Drying my lone tear knowing it would do no good, I sat a ‘right and saw a mausoleum, the largest I had ever seen, and upon it, I knew with the single word carved in a beautiful script all the way round its cornice where I had set my foot.

The word so strange yet true buried within its walls was forgiving. Reading the word the mystery of the place was revealed, I was in the graveyard of the living.


This was written a number of years ago and if I were doing a rewrite it would remain in intent the same but not in scheme.

Some of the lines are too long to mesh with what comes before and after. Adjustments to the vocal cadence become necessary to make this piece work as written. It was written as a spoken piece but the reading of it should never be forgotten as it was in this form.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

This was great, thanks. I begin to understand what you mean. I shall try this out sometime soon. This has been inspiring.

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