Introducing the Marine Sonnets by Paul Brookes

The Marine Sonnets by Paul Brookes

1. The Seawatch

I watch the sea as the sea watches me.
The changing colour of my surfaces,
Waves blown by gust, what my tides, what my sea
leaves on the shoreline of my many faces.

The lagan and flotsam and derelict
and jetsam. Two buoys of my eyes bobbing
anchored in a silt of images mixed.
Always memories waxing and waning.

My inside sea watched by the sea outside.
Speaks to sea beasts moving in my blood.
I rise to where the waves move to imbibe
breath before I dive below livelihood.
The sea is me, I am the sea, watching.
I am a dying sea, a dried up thing.

2. The Rockpool

Before the tide turns I wend my own way.
Starfish tube-feet caress my mussel beds
Beadlet, snakelocks anemones snare prey,
sting it with their tentacles, and shore crabs

scrupulously pick over carcasses.
From under my fringing seaweed shannies
and prawns dart to shelter in crevices,
overhangs, safe and secure nooks and crannies.

One minute I am scorched by sharp sunlight,
next I'm cold enough to ripple shivers.
Soon it'll wash over and we unite.
Soon I'll have new creatures to discover.
In the wane I'll have my own way,
Every to and fro never the same.

3. Herring Gull

The Sideways walker in my beak I drop
from Up to crack it open. My flockmates
and me enjoy the meat. I ask you to stop,
know me by my actions,my voice, translate

my language to yours, must note position
of my head, wings and tail, to my perch.
They're stronger, bigger, spread wings expression
saying this is mine, I won't share, go search

for your own. Wet Leaf fall we feed on soft squirm appear out of soil, we trample - ground
to make them rise. Her submissive begs stop
me attacking, upright I mew a sound.

Synchronise head tossings, I sick up rest undigested meal for her. We choose nest. 

4. A Strandline

I welcome the abandoned, discarded
and lost. My creatures scavenge arrivals.
Sandhoppers hide in day under stranded
debris, emerge to feed when darkness calls.

Find in me ambergris from a sperm whales 
intestines, sea beans, coconuts and sea hearts, plastic packaging and nurdles,
egg capsules of sharks, skates and rays, spongy

pale whelk egg cases, cuttlebones, moulted 
crab shells. I am never the same. Four tides
change my shape, what I am, how I'm molded.
I can't hold on to you, others decide.

I'm not permanent, secure or stable.
Have to let you go. Inevitable

5. The Sand Dune

A youngster, I am blown about scatter.
Roots arrive, dig into me, I grow here, hid
behind something from elsewhere, what matters.
Marram grass. Youngsters make a seaward bid,
sheltering me. I am background. My lime
rich shell sand, home to burrowing bees, quick
digger Wasps, sand swimming sand snakes.
In time
I grow older, taller, more chaotic.
Soon I may have a lake and marsh grass,
Later Sea buckthorn, birch. I am woodland.
My oaks rise, sunlight blooms through leaves, wings pass
in between branches. My youth blown sand.
I was near a sea but now I'm forest.
I hear my trees converse. Life never rests.

6. The Sturgeon

Bottom feeder. I live in two waters. 
Sense their electric impulses vibrate, 
suck into my mouth all their shells and claws. 
Soon move from Deep to brackish water. Wait 

until I am used to warmer Narrow, 
release my sticky eggs. My babies swim 
seaward. Get used to brackish in Shallow 
before move into Deep, not over rim. 

Above dredge our living, scarifying 
life, haul us up into light and dryness. 
Harvest our babies before their birthing. 
Hunted my ancestors rich meatiness. 
Deep returned I may leap, keep the reason 
a mystery, splash my flat sides, frisson. 

7. Therapy

Listen, soft crash of my waves alter your brain patterns, feel my sand exfoliate, 
your skin as my unevenness makes floor 
walk harder, works your calves and thighs. A state 

of meditation lulls, slows your heart beat, 
deepens your breath. My blue sky and sun shoot  
up your bodies feel good drugs, my heat 
and negative ions ensure reboot. 

I massage the vagus nerve in your neck, 
enough for all this to happen. Watch fish 
in rockpools provide aquariums check 
your stress, rejuvenate a hug and kiss. 

I'm health resort, recommunion, 
refresher, renewer, good reunion. 

8. Beachcomber

Gale force Eight or more with an Easterly 
throws things on my shores, material drifts
on my strongest waves and currents, firmly
North to South. Comb me as my gales desist

start to subside or veer West. See patches
of weed and black coal amongst my rocks.
Delve into huge feet thick seaweed masses
Find rare ,warm Baltic amber in same spots

as coal and Whitby jet. Prove real amber
sandpaper it and smell Pine tree resin.
My fossils, bullet shaped Belemnites are
with curled Ammonites released from within.

Don't get caught by my rising tide, falling
cliffs. Every find, a story calling

9. The Barnacle

Before I make my shell, I float in search 
for a permanent place to live. My home 
is beside others, where waves swell and lurch 
I stick my head beside them. Make my dome, 

secrete six plates outside myself. Include 
four as one to open and close with ebb. 
Aswim, I went through many changes, food 
swam ahead of me, I chased, as it fled. 

I stand on my head and eat with my feet. 
My glue will outlast me. Incoming tide 
makes me open to sift food brush and sweep 
it into my shell to my head, inside. 

I grow, enlarge my home, with neighbour 
I make babies, who one eyed leave my door. 

10. Rocky Shores

My high tide mark periwinkles, limpets, breaking wave spray moistens, incoming tides 
and storms envelop them. Exposed in its 
drying heat and extreme cold lichen thrives. 

My seabed's shoreward fringe between upper 
and lower, dried twice a day, barnacles , algae, mussels, sea palms. Sea cucumber 
catches passing prey in its tentacles. 

My scoured fissures, fractures and joints, abrased 
and weathered rock refreshed every time 
with new water, my pools isolated 
when it withdraws, small worlds redefined. 

Every tide renews, sculpts, refugees new blood, 
reinvigorates, new life, new food. 

11. Doggerlands

Below the waters of the German Sea rests 
imagination bound with histories. 
Massive creatures roamed valleys and forests, 
folk hunted them down for wondrous stories. 

In firelight told how they killed great toothed beasts 
whilst feasting on the monster's meat and bones, 
Then the landslide., waters rose and all ceased. 
Their remains tell tales to fish, crabs and stones.

Above they farm the gust that turns the blades. 
Ferries wend their way to the other shore. 
The sea now beast that harbours other trades. 
A sunken land to be discovered once more. 

A sea becomes land, as land becomes sea 
Geography of our narratives legacy. 

12. Pelagic

We are not dry land, we are open sea.
Marine snow, always falling detritus,
feed zooplankton, organisms in deep sea,
where sunlight cannot reach you will find us.

We are more different deeper you go.
Muscular bodies become flabby, strong
ossified bones become weak, eyes so
large, sensitive, small, heart too, pressured throng.

Lantern fish, a sound scattering layer,
deeper when the moon is out, if a cloud
passes over moon, it becomes shallower.
Night ascent, day return to cold, dark crowd.

Depth changes the way we live, how we are.
Shallower, more predators, under stars

13. Marine Plants (List Poem)

Eel Grass, Sea Grass or Grass Wrack, Dwarf Eel Grass
or Sea Grass, Marram Grass, Sand Sedge, Hound's Tongue
Sea Couch, Sea Rocket , Common Scurvygrass,
Sea Kale, Yellow Horned Poppy, Adder's Tongue.
Sea Holly, Sea Spurge, Sea Stock, Sea Spleenwort,
Autumn Lady's Tresses, Rock Sea Spurrey,
Ray's Knotgrass, Sea Milkwort, Long-spiked Glasswort,
Sea Beet, Sea Stork's-bill, Lesser Sea Spurrey.
English Scurvygrass, Shore Dock, Autumn Squill,
Common Glasswort,  Sea Arrow-grass, Rock Samphire,
Cord-grass, Sand or Warren Crocus, Spring Squill, 
Sea Pink, Sea Daffodil, Golden Samphire.
Saltwort, Buck's-horn Plantain, Sea Plantain,
Sea Campion, Sea Aster, Sea Purslane.

14. A Breakwater

I watch the giving and taking away.
Waves give gift of shells, drag away castles.
Waders long beaks punctuate my seaspray.
Old wood headland divides and crackles.

I have two sides, updrift and downdrift. Trap
sediments, prevent longshore drift, make beach.
I'm a hand held under a running tap.
I cut gust into two. Firm in waves reach.

Soon I'm to be replaced, "i'm in decay.
My timber is rotting, brackets rusting.
I have done my job, as well as I may.
I'll be broken up, lobbed in a waste bin.

Creatures on me always losing their homes.
Tide is ever changing, it's in my bones.

15. Sanderling Shanty

Stab the sand, my little ones, while it's out. 
In it comes, retreat, retreat, my fellows. 
We flew from cold, my little ones, watch out. 
In it comes, retreat, retreat, my fellows.

Yank the worm, my little ones, while it's out. 
In it comes, retreat, retreat, my fellows. 
Stab shells, my little ones, don't get caught out. 
In it comes, retreat, retreat, my fellows. 

Scurry, scamper, my little ones, surf's out. 
In it comes, retreat, retreat, my fellows. 
Stab jelly, my little ones, ebb's out. 
In it comes, retreat, retreat, my fellows. 

In it comes, retreat, retreat, my fellows. 
In it comes, retreat, retreat, my fellows. 

Wolfpack Contributor: Paul Brookes

The Insect Sonnets by Paul Brookes

The Unresolveables (An Heroic Crown Sonnet Sequence) by Paul Brookes at (sonnets 1-15)

3 Poems by Paul Brookes in Fevers of the Mind:   Her Fiftieth, Her Fur Elise, A Black Bead

By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1


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