Perhaps it comes from being of an island race, perhaps there is pirate or viking in my blood, perhaps it is that I have never lived further than ten minutes from the shore, perhaps it is the childhood memories, perhaps it is parental influence, perhaps it is a love of the mysterious, a longing for freedom, a lust for travel, the knowledge that a safe haven cannot be fully appreciated without a storm, but I have always been susceptible to the sirens’ call.
The sea sings to me. It infiltrates my writing, from my first poem to this, my latest foray in to wordsmithing. It flows, with the regular insistence of the tide, through my choices: what I read, what I find aesthetically pleasing, what I want to make, what I have in my home. It is a muse and it is a silencer. The vast expanses full of opportunity, possibility and imagination but also dark depths of uncertainty, power beyond ken and control.
There is an inherent rhythm in the water which lends itself to poetry. I hear it in the hypnotic melodies of John Masefield’s Sea Fever, the persistent questioning of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Where Go the Boats and the shamanic incantation of Seamus Heaney’s Glanmore Sonnet VII. It is there in the pulsing of my heart, the crashing of waves in the conch to my ear. Its lure is a constant presence, sand under the fingernails that cannot be washed clean.
I am drawn to beaches, liminal places, ancient boundaries, both a point of embarkation and a place of return. And, whilst our footprints in the sand are only transitory, my human need to remember, to recall, to say ‘I was there’, is resulting in an ever-growing collection of sea worn mementos.
To stem the flood, I have tried to wrangle some fragments in to a semblance of order. I am working on a triptych, glass and shell are completed, pottery is in progress. I need more pieces. I must go down to the seas again…