The ocean joins us – pantoum by Sarah and Gina

The ocean here is cold, and fierce, and grey,
The waves create an imprint on the sand.
The shore you walk is many miles away,
Ripples connecting our earth end to end.

The waves create an imprint in the sand,
My footprints mark the way that I have come –
Ripples connecting our earth end to end,
One ocean glimmering beneath one sun.

My footprints mark the way that I have come,
The path ahead is long and yet unknown,
One ocean glimmering beneath one sun,
I see other footprints, I know am not alone.

The path ahead is long and yet unknown –
I wait for stars to shine and as I wait
I see other footprints. I know I’m not alone,
Yet I’m afraid to follow, I hesitate –

I wait for stars to shine, and as I wait
The shore you walk is many miles away
Yet I’m afraid to follow, I hesitate
The ocean here is cold, and fierce, and grey

Gina at https://alifelesslivedblog.wordpress.com/ is our host for this month’s dVerse form – the pantoum. In her excellent introduction to the form, she mentioned the Malaysian tradition of creating shared pantoums at weddings. I was intrigued, and invited her to join me in creating a shared pantoum – and here is the finished piece. We provided alternate rhyming couplets. I’m really pleased with how it worked out, and I think I learned a lot about the writing technique for pantoums while doing it. Thank you for sharing this with me, Gina – it was a great experience! I recommend it.

I got to choose the subject (and the title!). Gina’s blog has a picture of a beach, and I live near the ocean too. I guess the same water has rolled up on my shore in Devon, England, and Gina’s shore in Malaysia.

Sarah and Gina’s pantoum

The ocean here is cold, and fierce, and grey

The shore you walk is many miles away

Gina is leading us through the pantoum this month. DVerse is looking at different forms – we’ve had the sonnet, the rubaiyat, and now the pantoum. Go over to her original post for a really good description.

When I was reading Gina’s post, this caught my eye:
In Malaysia, my home country, the pantun is still very popular at weddings where the older relatives from both sides of the bridal party will exchange love “pantun” blessing the newlyweds a blissful first night together and a long happy marriage.

What an amazing idea – I would love to have had that at my wedding! Though I’m not sure what the in-laws would have come up with…

Anyhow, I wondered if we could do something similar online, so these lines are the A and C lines of the first verse of Sarah and Gina’s joint pantoum. We’ll add to it in the comments, and see how it goes!

After the storm – a poem for dVerse

My head is full of the roar of the rolling waves:
The air is full of water, all hazed with mist,
And my lungs are full of salt air and I crave
The sea, all laced with foam, with pale spindrift

The air is full of water, all hazed with mist,
The storm is gentling now along the shore,
The sea is laced with foam, with pale spindrift,
And each wave curls like a grey cat’s paw

The storm is gentling now along the shore,
The sky is white, there is no sun today,
While each wave curls like a grey cat’s paw,
The sea is blank-faced, dull, somehow opaque

The sky is white, there is no sun today,
It’s hard to say just where the ocean ends,
The sea is blank-faced, dull, somehow opaque
And all the light is pale, and cloud-softened

It’s hard to say just where the ocean ends
In the wild bleakness of the empty strand,
And all the light is pale, and cloud-softened
above the sea’s wild anger and the silent sand

In the wild bleakness of the empty strand
See the sharp- winged flight of a black-headed gull
above the sea’s wild anger, and the silent sand,
the shrill cry of the petrel, wheeling, heart full

see the sharp winged flight of a black headed gull –
my lungs are full of salt air, and I crave
the shrill cry of the petrel, wheeling, heart full –
my head is full of the roar of the rolling waves

 

Jilly inspires us to use repetition in our poetry tonight. I have a slight obsession with the pantoum – it’s such a tricky form to get to flow smoothly. So that – obviously – is what we’ve ended up with tonight.

A blessing for my son.

May you always
know the ocean,
the steady beat
of her waves,
the great width
of her strength.

Even if you live
locked in a
land-locked city,
may you dream of
the sea.

May you always feel
the joy you feel
at the first sight
of the blue sea
sparking in summer;
the awe you feel
at the power of
the waves
in a winter storm.

May you always know
the salt water
in your
own blood.