A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Sunday, 5 March 2017


I haven't blogged for a while, but here is a new poem.


Surprising that I never knew before
the bright curve of this bay,
the way the washed sand crimps the light
and bathers lounge like graceless seals.

I must have visited this coast
a hundred times, yet never understood
how marram grass secures the dunes
with subterranean roots, and why

we only see the coiled casts of the lugworm,
never the lugworm. What the lobster does.
When tides turn with the moon.
If mermaids count the coins within their purse.

It’s odd how just one shower, one rainbow,
one brief focus, one slant of the sun,
one mood, one chemistry, one instant,
combine in random destiny like this

to give us more than ever we expected:
the revelation of a cream-tipped wave,
spent on the sand, the gull’s orgasmic cry,
greedy and wild, the sensuality

of sun on skin, of arms and legs in water,
impressionistic light
breaking the bonds of molecule and atom
yet bringing all together like the roots

of marram grass, the disappearing groynes
rotting with knowledge, the unknowing ocean,
the beach bums gazing vacantly to sea
aching for grace, dreaming epiphany.


Bouncing Bertie said...

Good to hear from you Robert.
I can just picture those bathers lounging like graceless seals.

Amanda Summer said...

Especially loved the passage about the impressionistic light breaking apart and yet bringing all together - such a deeply spiritual notion. Good to see you back, Robert.

Sabine said...

You have no idea how much this makes me miss the sea right now. Thank you.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks for reading, Gail. Great to hear from you too!

The Solitary Walker said...

I'm so glad you picked that up, Amanda. I was thinking of all those Impressionist landscapes/beachscapes... how they fragmented the light, yet unified our vision at the same time, by representing true subjective reality... Much to talk about here, but this probably isn't the forum...

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks for commenting, Sabine. Would love to be on a coastal path gazing out to sea right now...

dritanje said...

Such a wonderful description of an expanded moment of perception, and how each described thing, grass, worm cast, etc is given its attention and how this contributes to the whole that you speak of. The impressionistic sense that's already been mentioned, and - to me there is an Auden feel to it, especially to the beginning (and Auden is a master so I think)

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks for this, Morelle. I love Auden, and have discussed four of his poems on my poetry discussion blog, The Hidden Waterfall.

am said...

Good to see you back at your blog with this beach poem that stirs up all sorts of memories for me. Hope to see you here more often.

Wondered what marram grass was until I googled some images. We called it beach grass. Looks just like your marram grass in England. Have not thought about beach grass for some time now, but the images I found from beaches in England brought back good memories. Thank you for refreshing my memory. The dunes would not be secure without marram grass. My memory would not be secure without beach grass. With some more googling, I discovered that some of the beaches in California where I spent so much of my time had native dune grass as well as European dune grass that was introduced in the early 1900s to stabilize the dunes in Half Moon Bay, which is down the coast from San Francisco.

Here's a glimpse of the place that dwells in my memories:


The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, marram grass, beach grass - the same. As you say, it secures the dunes through a mesh of rooted rhizomes. I tried to make this a metaphor (along with the invisible lugworms, the sea's depths, the prismatic light both separating and combining) about a hidden natural/divine force holding everything together...

am said...

Yes. Something holding it all together. "In every leaf that trembles, in every grain of sand." We all play a part in that something. Sean Lennon talks about that in the interview I found a few days ago on YouTube, "The Conscious Universe."

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

I have often left a comment over years but we never connected. I enjoyed your posts along your journeys. For me this poem makes our invisible earthly connection vividly clear. I must say this is a very well crafted piece. May you return to post more soon.

The Solitary Walker said...

I always read, enjoy and publish your comments, Heidrun - sometimes they take a while to appear due to comment moderation. Thank you for your kind comment on my poem - I'm glad you found something of value in it!

Under Seven Skies said...

That's a stunning poem, Solitary Walker. Thanks so much for sharing it. I've just reread my blog from the pilgrimage I made on the Bibbulmun Track in Western Australia and found your generous and encouraging words, clicked on your link and found this. Written just one year ago – lovely! Bless you and your walking, your words and discoveries.


Margaret Butterworth said...

Looking forward to your next long distance walk. Where is it to be?

The Solitary Walker said...

Not quite sure, Margaret, as my life has been somewhat topsy-turvy lately! Perhaps some shorter walks for the moment. All good wishes to you.

am said...

Hello. I haven't been on Facebook for some time now and have missed hearing about your walks, reading your poetry and other writing, and seeing your photos. I've been hoping you would post at your blog again.

".. strange days indeed ..."

"... It's a shadowy world, skies are slippery grey ..."

KInd wishes always,

The Solitary Walker said...

Hello, Amanda, and thanks for your kind comment. I too haven't been active on Facebook for quite some time. I've also missed my long walks and writing about them. Maybe I'll post again some time next year after a long break from it. My health hasn't been brilliant this past year, what with viruses, leg and shoulder problems, and occasional depression. However, I've still been busy, and started a big translation project over a year ago, which should be complete by next summer. Hopefully more of all that later. In the meantime, all the very best, and I hope to catch up with your own blog very soon. Robert