I hear lake water lapping
in low sounds by the shore…..
As I ebb’d with the ocean of life…
Break, break, break,
On thy grey stones, O sea…
And down by the brimming river,
I heard a lover sing....
Water, water, everywhere–surely there’s a poem in there.
Manicddaily, a/k/a, Karin Gustafson, here to tell you that it turns out there are about a zillion poems in there. For although there is a very great deal to write about in this life, bodies of water have been used as metaphor, backdrop, sound effect, for just about all of it. (The lines above are a tiny sampling from Yeats, Whitman, Tennyson, Auden, Coleridge.)
I confess that I am someone who sometimes has a problem drinking the stuff. It’s somehow easier for me to down tea, juice, wine. But, oddly, when water comes in a body, my reaction is totally different. Then I am eager to jump in (on a hot day, sure, but my children and I have been known to swim even if it involves breaking ice.) (Okay, I wouldn’t call our polar submissions actual “swims”–still, you get my drift–)
Bodies of water are simply compelling–they draw us; they frighten us; they surround us (if only, at a distance), they make us up. As such, they are …um.. well-springs for refection, renewal, song.
In The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” T.S. Eliot –you can recognize him by the hair and the trousers–heard mermaids singing, but thought they would not sing to him. Wallace Stevens, below, in The Idea of Order at Key West, listens to a more human sea singer. (I include only the first stanza).
She sang beyond the genius of the sea.
The water never formed to mind or voice,
Like a body wholly body, fluttering
Its empty sleeves; and yet its mimic motion
Made constant cry, caused constantly a cry,
That was not ours although we understood,
Inhuman, of the veritable ocean.
(Note that if you follow the link above, there is a recording of Stevens reading the poem. There is also, above, a link to Yeats reading “The Lake Isle of Innisfree.”)
So, dive in! At least dip your toe! Get in the flow! And sing! (But don’t get water up your nose.) The topic for the day—a body or bodies of water. For these purposes, a body of water can mean anything from an ocean to a mermaid (or man), a lake to a puddle, even, if you would, a glass, a tear, a rain drop.
After your post your poem (or even before), be sure to check out the work of your singing, flowing peers! It’s amazing how fulfilling it can be not just to return visits to your fellow poets, but to initiate the visits! This back and forth is what keeps our poetic internet waves alive.
For those new, here’s the drill:
• Write your body of water poem and post it on your website or blog.
• Copy the direct URL to your poem and paste it, along with your name, in the spaces Mr. Linky offers you at the bottom of this post.
• Swim over to your fellow poets. Read, comment, repeat! (Be sure to leave a proper link so people can easily return your visits.)
• Spread the word! Use your social media sites to invite some newcomers. It’s good to include a link to dVerse on your own post, too, so your followers can locate us.
• Above all, enjoy!