Tag Archives: Sea

I Made This With A Good Old Friend

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January 9, 2016 (& 2002 & 1980)

In 2012, I paddled out before the sun came up in Manly, surfing as it rose. Today—on the same wild ocean but kilometres away—I wade into the water again, watching the waves crest and crumble through palm fronds jammed into the sand. The dew had made the top layer dark; and hopefully it had also run the dog piss off the car tyres. The foaming pacific felt warm and light as a cappuccino but the bared teeth of the mottled mongrels were chilling as they chased me off the beach. I can still hear their barking. The shore-break was detonating in rumbling, rolling white-outs while I remembered that half a lifetime ago (1998) I got my first guitar — as today (2016) I was getting another one.



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What a Sound the Sea Makes

It sounded like tearing sheet metal when the wave broke
Another offcut ribboned from an aluminium sea and left on the sand
Behind us, the blue cloud was banking and bruised
Hiding the Kilamangiro that couldn’t be there
Finding a short stick we mapped a rough outline of the bay
Using our memories as sounding weights
We zoomed in on the long, eroding beaches down the coast
Where we jumped from rocks in between swells, falling faster than spit
As the rain began to wet the top of our shoes, we washed the orange juice from our fingers
And chose the steepest path back up the hill to the house, to the pot of hot coffee
At the escarpment’s top, a shove of wind—the kind that had felled bigger trees than us
The proof at our feet, a splintered trunk laying heavy in the pine needles
A stone-like Ozymandias, now fuel, all transitioning power
What a sound chagrin makes
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The Fright of Jules Verne

At the altar a diving bell clangs
The broken seabed of marble gangs
Bares its pillars set stone in sand
That tonnes of pressure and weighing hands
Buried dark in the silent deep
In hell-sized holes dug with sailors’ teeth

And under them, muted scales of rust
The honeycombed bones, and the sunken bust
Of an echo, a broken shell throne
A well-spring of tears whence the ocean did grow

Shine the torch and hear her song
But see no mouth, no eyes sidelong
With fevered tugs signal “ascend”
Leave these shadows, but ware the bends

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Low Tide At Shoreham

I woke to the smell of the bared sea bed
The sweet and sour waft of salt and algae
Baking in the morning sun
At the rock edge the tide splashing the squatting abalone hunters
Prying off the meaty, mushrooming molluscs
Their iridescent half shell later filled with stubbed-out cigarette butts
An ashen cancer at the end of their rainbow
The copse of laddered pines are quiet now after a night of roaring in the wind
Sounding like the kind of rain that comes through your open windows and soaks your books
There’s a kite caught in the branches, sad, tattered and forever out of reach
Later in the year we’ll be down here at dawn hunting gold tops
No one here has heard of blue meanies, at least not the Kiwi kind
And we’ll be laughing on a lawn that’s heard a lot of laughter
A home like this has many memories
They come and go with the seasons, like the ocean on its step
A white capped expanse as deep and storied as a property split between siblings
You just hope they never sell it
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Oceanic – a start anyway

Octopus beaks in the sandy deep
And coral castles of rusted wrecks
Between them the cold currents creep
Ghosting footsteps on sodden decks

No siren call under tonnes of pressure
No light or heat through all the fathoms
Though aglow the bubbling fissures
Boiling down your sunken atoms

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Musket Cove

Pirates and castaways, in our white youth
My brother and I set oars through salt, orphans of the ocean

Pouncing upon an anchored galleon,
its rigging rustling above bare decks and mocktails,
we clambered over the ghost ship
Capturing it without even bloodying our cutlasses

Buccaneers, with smoking fuses for hair
The Fijian lagoon was at our whim and mercy
But not the tides…

Left stranded, now we lit flares
Deciding we had need of a mother afterall

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