Wednesday, 13 May 2015


“The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.” - Vincent Van Gogh

Sumana from Poets United is prompting participating poets this week with the word “waves”. Here is my offering:

The Waves

The wind blows cold and sharp,
The leaves are raised in russet waves
Only to fall again in watery graves,
Circling, lost in Autumn’s maelstrom.

The sea is grey and green and dark,
The frothy spumes of angry waves
Dash on the shore and enter rocky caves
Interred in Winter’s frigid embrace.

The woman stands on highest cliff
And with a trembling hand she waves
A white kerchief; and sheds a tear that laves
Her ice-cold cheek, as ship departs.

The pain it gnaws and feeds and multiplies
Deep in her heart, in throbbing waves
And in her troubled mind abruptly staves;
Such seas may claim so many souls…

The ship bobs up and down, tosses to and fro,
It falls in troughs and rides on crests of waves,
Each sailor holds fast a single thought that saves:
The white kerchief waving on the distant shore
And the sweet hand that holds it tight and waves.

The illustration is a painting by Montague Dawson, “A Ship in Stormy Sea”.


  1. Ah, the waves of the sea have claimed many sailors....and I hope against hope that the one the woman waits for survives the storm, is not lost in the stormy sea. An evocative poem, Nick. I can feel the 'rock' of the words as I read it.

  2. You have depicted the dark side of the waves quite beautifully..! Well penned..! :D

  3. I really enjoyed the dance of different waves encircling an intriguing story...beautifully rhythmic as on waves...

  4. Oh this is beautiful, with a most moving ending! I loved it! The poem itself moves with the rhythm of the waves!

  5. It seems impossible not to fear death when watching a loved one embark on a perilous journey from which many never return, And yet, it is the image of the loved one's presence that may be the magic to bring them home again. Life is unfair! Why should we have to use spiritual magic as a substitute for security? I want both, not the pleasure/pain divide so clearly depicted here.

  6. Multiple waves woven here. Well done.

  7. Nicholas,

    After reading your poem, I had an image of what it may have been like for those who set sail for 'new worlds,' all those years ago. Setting out into the oceanic unknowns, as well as the unknown worlds. Probably a scene familiar to those who sailed from Ireland to America and indeed, Australia. There is a sense of a strong goodbye, in the final wave of the poem..Powerful with emotions tossed around, as with the sea..

    Thank you for visiting my poems,

  8. Oh, the women - wives and mothers - left to watch the restless sea. Very nice.

  9. The painting is a great choice to capture the wild sea. Liked the rhyming couplet in each verse.The VG quote is right, once the sea is in your veins you can never give it up.
    The old sea dogs did it tough in those days but a life on land after a life on the sea wasn't a consideration. When my grandfather retired from life at sea I remember keenly his sadness at having to be a land lubber for the first time in his life. He died shortly afterwards.

  10. Amazing poem! The interweaving meanings of the word "waves" and the clever rhymes, as well as the vibrant rhythm makes this a marvelous read. Besides which there is a narrative that is both interesting and poignant!

  11. Nicholas, would you please email me at ? I have something to ask you!

  12. What a beautiful poem Nicholas. I felt I was in the scene watching the ship and the woman waving. I enjoyed reading this so much!

  13. I used to be married to a professional fisherman, so can relate very well to this. He was doing what he loved, but there was always that element of danger.

  14. What an epic piece..i could see every line and image

  15. Hi Nick...I am visiting your last week's poem a second time...wondering if you will still be making visits to those who visited you. You have many nice comments here. (And it really does not take that much time.....)