Poems (bits) of place 2

Fossils on the Rocks
Those swirling fossils
Shapes pressed into stone
Hold messages written
Before dinosaurs.

Rounded bubbles rise
Surface in shallow sandy pools
Signalling life below.

Darkness rippling waves
A curlew’s keening cry
Bubbles through my dreams.

The swooping splash of a bird to the tide
Tears a hole in the night

After the storm
After storms
shapes have shifted,
exposing stones
Bony skeletons,
the sand cannot cover

No shellfish were harmed in the writing of this rubbish!

Low tide summer afternoons
Were not for swimming.
Parents seeking peace
Would send us off
To pick periwinkles.
On the headland,
Clambering over fallen cliffs
We rampaged through rock pools
For winkles.
Competitive or co-operative
On the day
And the mood of the group.
Only the black ones
Were good enough
For Granny.
Bigger brown ones
She dismissed as coarse
Horse winkles.
Easily plucked from
Warm rock pools
We tossed them into buckets
A light chattering clatter.
Later we would find them
Struggling to escape
Slithering up bucket cliffs
Bidding for freedom.
Bearing them home
The bucket rims dug lines
On our bare legs.
Till gladly we offloaded
Our offering
To Granny.
Dispatched to death
By boiling.
Later, gently, delicately
each winkle’s shield removed,
with a pin
She would draw out
each sweet spiral


3 thoughts on “Poems (bits) of place 2

  1. raefonb

    I think ‘No shellfish were harmed in the writing of this’ would be a great title for the last piece. I really like it, not rubbish at all in my opinion! If I was going to suggest something for that poem, I’d say maybe experiment with having only lines that are the start of a new sentence begin with a capitalised word, I think it could benefit aesthetically because of being a flowing narrative. Just an idea.

    The repetition in the first half works well, those refrains are like a returning tide. Is it potentially a whole piece, from “Fossils” to “cover”, or are they literally scraps waited to be threaded into something else?

    “The swooping splash of a bird to the tide
    Tears a hole in the night” – loved this couplet 🙂


    1. deirdrenicm Post author

      Hi Raef,
      Thanks for the comments, appreciated.
      Yes all the short bits are things I am hoping to work into one bigger piece – poem of place about a headland in Sligo – don’t know how I can get it together yet but will just keep writing bits.
      Yes I definitely need to give time to editing, looking at work on the page and making the laptop do as I want. Watching the capitals at the start of lines would make reading easier
      In the periwinkles poem I was trying to capture a memory without letting it get too mawkish – it needs a lot more work and shaping but, for me, putting things on paper is a big deal still


  2. ecopoetics

    “Fossils on the Rocks
    Those swirling fossils
    Shapes pressed into stone
    Hold messages written
    Before dinosaurs.”

    That is, in its directness and delicacy, nearly as perfect as anything written by Niedecker.

    The repetitions (bubbles . . . bubbles, storm . . . storms) are effectively wavelike.

    I am wondering why you left off making stanza breaks in the last group. I find the short bits of language more effective in isolating groupings, clusters of sound and image.

    Beware a cliché like “keening cry”: I know you could reach farther here. You’re getting the energy of the poem down. As you develop this project, you can now afford to deepen it, enrich the surface, with more research: synonyms for fossils, for instance, might inform and vary some of the repetitions. Other ways of saying “bony skeletons.” (Though I do love the play of the x in “exposing” against the k in “skeletons.”) The science of tide pools. (Rachel Carson wrote some beautiful prose about this.) I also love the winking play of winkles and periwinkles in the last section–such a delicate sound. “A light chattering clatter” is lovely! Keep it going . . .



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