Dying sea

A sailor woke and listened for the speech
of crushing crests; of wind and waves’ unrest
but it was eerie silent, dead as on the beach

a shroud of death had spread its blackness on
the esker’s graveled shore; this night the sea,
had soiled the sand with grease and oil, upon

the ocean-corpse his broken boat; no word
could hold the sorrow as he lost his breath
to kelp-wrapped seals and gasps of dying birds.

He stood there waiting for a harbinger or way
He searched for signals in the scents or sound
He waited until noon when from the horrid bay

a sudden gust carried a remembrance, sung
by sea-glassed youth from her; a lover’s lips;
sounds once tossed from her, his vessel’s tongue.

I watched the Bergman movie “the seventh seal” again the other night and thought about death and shores. The words and rhymes in Laura’s prompt at dVerse taken from Raymond Garlick’s poem “Welsh-Speaking Sea”, but I turned the poem into a dead sea instead…

I treated the prompt as a Bouts-Rimés with fifteen lines.
March 17, 2020

20 responses to “Dying sea

  1. Absolutely love this poem- a very original re-working of Garlick’s sea – it reads as smoothly as an oil slick!
    [Nicely illustrated with the Seventh Seal – sad that Max von Sydow has met the grim reaper finally]

  2. Well done, Björn, for using all the word sets in the original order and creating a dark tale of a sailor and the sea. I love the way you’ve used sounds, such as alliteration and internal rhyme in ‘the speech of crushing crests;’ ‘soiled the sand with grease and oil’, and ‘gasps of dying birds’. I also like the compound noun ‘ocean-corpse’ and the adjectives ‘kelp-wrapped’ and ‘sea-glassed’.

  3. A sea shanty indeed, only missing black sails and clanging swords, or harpoons and killer whales. I liked the line /upon the ocean-corpse his broken boat/. Puts me in mind of Elton John: “There’s a boat on the reef with a broken back. I can see it very well.”

  4. “the esker’s graveled shore” is a brilliant phrase … among others … As always, Bjorn, a great write.

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