The Sea Epic

This is the beginning of a poem I wrote a couple of years ago, inspired by the Emil Nolde painting The Sea B (which is in the Tate). It's probably about a pagan messiah figure, a man to whom nature is sort of an extension of himself.

Peacock clouds compress oppressive rusting mustard skies,

Straining for the heaving heavens, swell-top droplets fly,

And toiling in the rain-spoiled roiling, unheard seabirds cry.


Lumbering their foetid fervour, undulations run,

Death-cold depths drag driftwood farther from the living sun,

And in the tug, in net-wreathed grandeur, stands the Storm-Sung One.


Around his form the storm-eye lies and holds the water still,

His finger clicks a thunder-crack, the lightnings smite his will,

And every tear a raindrop, as the stained and rent skies fill.


His heart's as long and frostbit as the lying leagues below,

His mind's a placid torrent of the deepest indigo,

And watch his taut eyes slacken as the tumbling wave crests grow.


That face is shadowed corners while a storm-riff fills the air,

He summons the horizon and a far off clifftop there,

And stepping from his vessel shakes the darkness from his hair.

The End

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