The Sea by James Reeves.
The sea is a hungry dog,
Giant and grey.
He rolls on the beach all day.
With his clashing teeth and shaggy jaws
Hour upon hour he gnaws
The rumbling, tumbling stones,
And ‘Bones, bones, bones, bones! ‘
The giant sea-dog moans,
Licking his greasy paws.
And when the night wind roars
And the moon rocks in the stormy cloud,
He bounds to his feet and snuffs and sniffs,
Shaking his wet sides over the cliffs,
And howls and hollos long and loud.
But on quiet days in May or June,
When even the grasses on the dune
Play no more their reedy tune,
With his head between his paws
He lies on the sandy shores,
So quiet, so quiet, he scarcely snores.
When I was in primary school I was accused by my teacher of plagiarism (I was like…10 years old) because I wrote a poem about the sea and it started with “The sea is a hungry lion….”
It was a good poem and I remember being particularly proud of it (even though now I can’t remember the rest of it…) and was most upset by her accusations.
Now, I really honestly don’t know if I had read this – the above poem. Perhaps my father read it to me? I certainly don’t recognise it now, as a googling adult, nor do I even know who this James Reeves fellow is.
It’s possible that I DID read it as a child, or something very similar, my head was always buried in a book.
I know why I would have said “The sea is a hungry lion.”
I was born in Africa wasn’t I ? Lions are probably the scariest things you can imagine. In fact I still to this day have lion nightmares….being eaten alive. Ghastly.
My parents took me down to Durban on holiday, where I saw the ocean for the first time. I must have been around seven years old?
I remember my father taking me into the surf. The swell of the waves scared me…the motion, and the relentlessness of the waves coming and coming …You never knew how big the next one would be.
Would it swallow you up? Crash on your head? Suck you under and refuse to spit you out?
It was exciting, but frightening and there hanging on to my father’s neck I had to put all my faith in him…that he would somehow keep me safe.
He did, of course but it was there that my fascination AND fear of the ocean was born.
The sea IS hungry, indeed.
Don’t you ever feel that? And it’s as though it has a magic about it – The lure.
Teasing and tempting you in….
Sometimes a gentle dance…beckoning to you.
Come in come in and we will dance a slow sultry dance together.
And sometimes she lets you, and it is a beautiful thing.
Other times she is unflinchingly ruthless.
Hungry, without conscience…without regard for fear, or pleading or bargains with God.
Sometimes she just swallows people right up, and throws back her head and laughs.
So I prefer to walk by her edge and listen to her whispers.
Stand there with the wind blowing through my hair and the salt on my face…feel the energy coming from her ceaseless dance.
It’s soothing, yet invigorating. Like standing safe, just beyond the reach of something that if you let it, will snatch you up in a heartbeat.
I walked along the ocean shore yesterday and took some pictures.
Nature never fails to delight me.
The patterns…scrumptious…free form and divine.
Like an artist the ocean somehow pens her imagination into the sand…
Sculpts designs into the rock….creates lizard skin sandstone, like this….
Creates blue beauty in a bottle that will make you cry if you touch it…
And strange creatures that you can’t help but want to gently poke your finger in…
A mollusk racetrack perhaps?
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside…. But hey….I’d be a bit worried about sea wall erosion in these houses.
What a view though. To lie in bed at night listening to the waves…
Looks like a deserted island doesn’t it, with one lone lighthouse.
Well, one can pretend anyway.
The gentle late afternoon light is always a delight. The sand like smooth naked skin…
The sea spray, the rock pools, the rhythms of the tide, all mesmerising…pulling me back time and time again.
Nope, I’m afraid I have to be near the ocean so I can wander down and visit, listen to her lure, while the two of us hunger… each in our own different ways.
Here is a video I put together on one other occasion.
Come walk with me, beside the sea.