An Onomatopoeic Poem About the Sea


Sometimes I wake up thinking about something quite silly – a Nutella pancake or a walk on the downs. Today I woke up and wanted to read a poem about the sea, an onomatopoeic poem where the words were almost indistinguishable from the sounds of the sea. But search as I might I couldn’t find what I wanted.  I remembered things like John Masefield’s Cargos  which has that magical and musical opening “Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir…” so melodious, but not about the music of the sea.  So I wrote a poem based on the sea’s music, a kind of swirling music that has no end… and here it is:


The sound…
The sound of the sea
Reminds me
Of that soft, soft journey
That takes you there
And back again…
There… and back again


And that song in memory
The song of the sea
Reminds me
Of the music…
Hissing and whispering
That music of slumber
Rumbling, slumbering
That weaves its way
Into the soul
Tickling and trickling
There… and back again

Those sea sounds flow
Through my veins
They cascade through my blood
Ebbing and flowing
Swirling and whirling
Through time and tide
Wind and water
Carried on shifting sands
Across languorous lagoons
Within and without



Standing by that swishing
Rushing and gushing –
Sucked back
By the grumbling gravel
Hissing and gurgling
Departing, returning
I’m happy and sad
It’s beckoning and reckoning
I’m alive and dead
I’m dancing and swirling
Within and without
Washed up on the watery waves of eternity
A song without end



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