Echo (a poem)

Tarry boards afloat with echo,
Jubilant, the languages of port;
Restive horses, orange cargo
Leave the second last resort
Below the father’s monstrance
And above the son’s retort.

Echo seeps among the peaches
Down where bow bisects distortion –
Smash and ballast; summer
Comes between two springs;
Sliding moment; cotton storm and spray –
Darkness points the gulley;
Day lies down by day.

Echo swims the iron mines;
Knew the new blind ships before
They saw the sea; reads signs unwritten,
Weighing cracks imperiously;
Swoops at fitting times,
Contriving corporal rhymes

To galvanize the sighted sailor,
Chasm wise in void avoidance –
Balance is not earned but owed;
Think the voyage, dream the road
Your shipmates fail to crave –
Solace on the narrow grave

Will hold you to survive, with scars;
Upwards to the chart –
As sea enhances vividness of stars
(Parted, still part)
Reflect, you could do worse.
A curse once being a blessing,
The ocean’s then a sailor’s curse.



Filed under Poems, The music of what happened

20 responses to “Echo (a poem)

  1. helpmaboab

    Bit quiet today. Serves you right for bumming about 900 hits yesterday.

  2. 735 so far today. But yes, a bit quiet comment-wise this afternoon.

    I don’t mind … what will be will be.

  3. Cymbeline

    Superb poem. Superb use of language and imagery to convey ideas.

    Emptiness is everywhere, and emptiness is dangerous. Emptiness must be mastered. Balance is not earned but owed. Going through difficult times can help us master emptiness, can help us find the balance necessary for life.

    The use of the ‘echo’ is brilliant to illustrate the idea of emptiness. Emptiness as a living thing that can even seep among the cargo of peaches, and swoop underground.

    This theme of finding balance is a leitmotif of much of your thought and writing, I think. You use nautical imagery in ‘One More’ too.

    I hope I have understood; perhaps I haven’t understood everything, and perhaps I have misunderstood other things. Please put me right if necessary.

    Thank you for the poem. Your extraordinary talent often takes me aback.

  4. helpmaboab

    Yaaay, Cymbeline to the reſcue!

  5. Cymbeline

    Echo and the Bunnymen : Refcue.

  6. helpmaboab

    Yes, I was starting to worry about Brendano, that hit counter is a bit of a mixed blessing. I had visions of him hunched over his wordpress dashboard as the counter clacked past 735. Seven hundred and thirty five people who read his pome but did not comment. It’s bound to get a chap down. I know that he doesn’t have a gun but there is that big lake nearby.

    But you have made it all better.

  7. helpmaboab

    8:00am and no sign of Brendano. I hope everything is all right.

  8. Morning Cymbeline and hmb. Thanks very much for the kind words, Cymbeline … always appreciated. I remember that you liked this when I posted it on MyT once. I like it myself. It started out as one of the first poems I wrote, when I was in my twenties; I revised it much later.

    You know me, hmb … not inclined to rise too early on Saturday mornings. Actually this post had 92 views yesterday, according to those freaky stats (in which I am far less interested than you seem to be :-)).

    I was up late, as usual on Friday nights. Drinking wine and watching Glastonbury highlights with my wife. All the bands we like are American. Americans make the best rock music. British bands (as a rule) are handicapped by a tendency to the twee and self-indulgent (thanks for the YouTube clip, Cymbeline … nice Googling work :-)). Americans instinctively know what to do … it’s their music.

    Then we watched some of an old BBC production called Babylon from the early 80s, about the London Jamaican music scene. Great reggae/dub soundtrack, and such curiosities as a young, long-haired (yet bald) and racist Mel Smith. It brought me back, and my wife even more so, as she was in that scene around 1980.

    My wife was amazed at how ‘old-fashioned’ London looked. She was there, as was I, and we didn’t remember it as being so old-fashioned. But that was 30 years ago.

  9. Cymbeline

    Good God. Is it Saturday? I thought it was Thursday. Well, I am in a strange sort of time warp at the moment.

    Actually, the Echo and the Bunnymen clip was not a piece of Googling. Remembered Echo and the Bunnymen and looked on Youtube.

    I do not agree with you about American music. As a general rule, I find British music to be far more raw and artistic than American music.

  10. Cymbeline

    My husband was in London for a while in 1984. He worked in the kitchens of a crummy hostel, and had free lodgings there. A Russian spy was discovered living in the hostel, and it was all over the BBC News.

    He used to go out to jazz clubs, I think (husband, not the spy).

  11. Cymbeline

    No sorry – 1985/86 , not 1984.

    I once posted some of my husband’s black-and-white photographs, taken when he was in London then. He used to enjoy wandering around with his camera, taking photographs of Londoners and London. Jamie MacNab saw the photographs and was surprised to know that they were 1980s photos. He had thought them to be older than that.

  12. My apologies for the Googling comment, Cymbeline.

    There are exceptions, or course, to the US/UK thing, such as the Rolling Stones. Punk was raw but, after the very early days, more a fashion statement, in my opinion. So, like folklore, our disagreement will persist on this, I think.

    My wife lived in a certain demi-monde in London in her late teens. Then she went home to Northern Ireland and worked in a beautiful bar, which the IRA blew up. Then she moved to Dublin, and in with me. So perhaps I ought to be thankful to the IRA for that at least.

    Remember Martha and the Muffins? That’s some catchy echo-related music right there.

  13. I didn’t see those photos, Cymbeline. You should post them somewhere.

  14. Cymbeline

    Ah yes. Echo Beach. Loved that.

  15. Cymbeline

    My parents knew a Papua New Guinean young man who won a scholarship to study in London. He had hardly been out of his village before. He was blown up by the IRA in a pub in London.

  16. Cymbeline

    Yes, that is why I do not like ‘happy fate’ stories. Such stories are just as senseless as the ‘tragic fate’ stories.

    Only the human mind trying to make patterns.

  17. helpmaboab

    The troubles passed me by, I think. I feel myself little affected by them.

  18. Really, hmb? Surprising for someone who came from the Shankill Road.

  19. helpmaboab

    One of my teachers was terribly injured in a bomb explosion. She never married.

    My boss was walking home from work one day, he was hit by a brick in some mini-riot and died.

    My cousin was shot full of holes at a zebra crossing as he left work. Looking back on it he should have driven over the bitch with the pram.

    Apart from that very little to report except the oppressive blight that everyone enjoyed.

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