Wednesday, 3 April 2013

The Sound of the Sea

This month's blog is a poem.

My first ever book was a volume of poetry entitled 'The Drawing out of Days.' 
It was published when I was just 16 and it was reviewed very favourably by the wonderful Joan Bakewell.

So it's been very healing to rediscover this gift and especially healing to write about my last five days on the Suffolk coast.


It's always rush hour here beside the sea
As waves, like trucks and cabs, break noisily
Outside my cottage window.

'There's a different kind of traffic here', I muse,
As briny, white-roofed, cars and coaches 
Come and go unwaveringly.

Each day an unseen postman comes
- like a furtive oceanic messenger - 
To my dilapidated door.

'Look what the tide's brought in!' I shout
To the motionless seagulls surfing the wind, 
As they speed off effortlessly. 

I sit on a bench composed of rotting timber 
- a simple, decomposing offering - 
Brought in on generous tides.

There I contemplate the latest letters
Sent from the Maker of the Sea
Who writes to me so tenderly. 

I settle my mind and brood on his messages,
My arms stretched out like a seabird's,
My broken soul surrendered. 

'His words have the constancy of waves' I cry,
'They drown me in their raging love 
As they break upon me endlessly.' 

As I watch a murmuration of busy starlings
Darting over a brown and broken heath,
An inner vow begins to surge. 

'This is where unhurried hearts can swell with song, 
This is where my beaten ears belong,
Where the surf sounds mystically.'


  1. Dear Mark,
    I am glad you find consolation in writing poetry.

    Here is one of mine.

    Made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9)

    Do not trust a Christian who’s never failed.
    Don’t listen to those who boast in ‘success.’
    Through brokenness, God’s glory is unveiled.

    When people relate of obstacles scaled,
    If strength and power is all they profess.
    Do not trust a Christian who’s never failed.

    But listen to those who tell of betrayal,
    Who speak with shame of how they did transgress,
    Through brokenness, God’s glory is unveiled.

    Don’t trust yarns where constant growth is regaled,
    Where projects bloom, and seldom look a mess,
    Do not trust a Christian who’s never failed.

    Rather look for preachers, whose hands are nailed
    With scars of pain, and countless sins confess,
    Through brokenness, God’s glory is unveiled.

    So steer well clear of those whose words impress;
    Reveal your ‘specks’ but don’t their ‘logs’ address.
    Do not trust a Christian who’s never failed.
    Through brokenness, God’s glory is unveiled.

    Paul Greenland

  2. I couldn't agree more Paul. We are all cracked pots. The glory shines out of the fissures. Terrific poem. Profound thought.