The strumpshaw grass

I

This is the tidal water, this salt marsh.
How the sun’s poultice draws on my hemp-line.

Sands listless color, an erodible body in a shallow sea;
Pale currents pushed by the wind with a scorched mouth.

Why is it so quiet, where are the fishers?
I have a purpose, and I move swiftly.

II

Calm waters kill the vibrations,
Stretching for miles like sunken wrecks.

My oars stroking, I am at my best.
The lines are cast, scalded by the bald surface,

They jerk- elastics in a depth, hurting the calm.
Here come the kettles of mackerel

Who travel up the sea wall with their green backs,
The perts of their body are neat and jaunty.

The black hooks have no mercy for them.
Why should they, they are a hearse for a dead fish.

And the onlooker- O white sea, with cupped sighs,
Trembling at a loss; a virulence drawn out like a Maginot line.

III

On the dune balconies, a storm with a terrible thought;
The breakwater, whitecapped and defiant.

I am not a smile.
These fishers with their hooks and cries

Strip the waves in a fast row;
The old sea is vanishing, the brine is whitewashed from the wall.

Clouds prop their jaws for a downpour;
Fold upon fold dumping into the hollows.

I am a blunt, practical boat,
Full of aging wood, drowning in the parlor of a stone sea.

The pallors of hands gather-
Old blood like blind widows in a still place.

Passes cloud after cloud, sorry and dull.
My eyes are opening on a wonderful thing-

The strumpshaw grass, the marsh air,
The sun pouring into the tidal water, wordless and slow.

Copyright © 03/19/2019 lance sheridan®

The strumpshaw grass

55 comments on “The strumpshaw grass

  1. CMHutten says:

    Brilliant! Your word combinations send chills and paint an ever so vibrant picture.

  2. ssfrerking says:

    When I read this, I feel cold. Sad. Amazed.

  3. Reading your poetry—I learn new words 🙂

  4. Nicely done Lance! Blessings my friend✨

  5. Bonsoir Lance
    J’ai lu avec plaisir votre superbe poésie en sa tristesse à marée basse sous les nuages gris de lassitude
    Douce soirée amicalement
    Béa

  6. Such gorgeous imagery. Lovely.

  7. My sincere gratitude- thank you!

  8. Brilliant combination of words so well composed, Lance.

  9. Mahika says:

    Wow !! You have a splendid blog !! Do read my new post Run of the mill @ https://wp.me/p8NgVO-ff and follow my blog if you like

  10. Neil, I love the way beauty and violence coexist in your poetry just as in nature and here, in the “ordinary” act of fishing. Simple things become extraordinary and lovely – a fishline dragging through the decayed matter of the marsh becomes the sun’s “poultice” drawing on a “hemp-line,” horrifying – the black hooks now a “hearse,” and melancholic – “the white sea, with cupped sighs trembling at a loss.” It’s truly exhilarating what you do with the English language, Neil. I feel as if my banal senses are being awakened when I read your images. Your poetry gets richer with each new reading.

  11. Lance, I love the way beauty and violence coexist in your poetry just as in nature and here, in the “ordinary” act of fishing. Simple things become extraordinary and lovely – a fishline dragging through the decayed matter of the marsh becomes the sun’s “poultice” drawing on a “hemp-line,” horrifying – the black hooks now a “hearse,” and melancholic – “the white sea, with cupped sighs trembling at a loss.” It’s truly exhilarating what you do with the English language, Lance. I feel as if my banal senses are being awakened when I read your images. Your poetry gets richer with each new reading.

  12. I’ve only fished the Sacramento and American Rivers. Still, there are pockets of marshland within those two rivers where the canny fisher (man or woman) puts in lines for trout taking a breather from fighting river currents, or for bottom catfish. Your marvelous imagery captures both the essence of fishing and the violence to watery animals hooked on lines. Of course, the last time I fished, the only thing I caught was the anchor line of the nearest rowboat. As always, Lance, I am in awe of your powerful wording and imagery. Be well, good friend.

  13. Lance, I really appreciate your powerful descriptions and I can see the scenes vividly with my inner eyes. With you, I’m also learning new vocabulary. Thanks! Elisabeth

  14. rabirius says:

    Excellent poem, Lance.

  15. I Always think about the deep water….and their mysteries.

  16. Sonal P Deo says:

    Lovely picture created through words. Loved the flow.

  17. Mario, I’m very grateful for your feedback on my poem- thank you!

  18. Mario, it is in the calming sea itself. Many sincere thanks!

  19. Mario, I’m very appreciative of your thoughts, your feedback, your support, and your talent as a writer. Many sincere thanks!

  20. Small wave movement…

  21. Chiru says:

    love the way u used ur words to describe the flow

  22. rebktd says:

    Trazas un mundo de sensaciones entre letras e imágenes …

  23. […] via The strumpshaw grass — Lance Sheridan […]

  24. schoolofblue says:

    Incredible imagery … ‘On the dune balconies, a storm with a terrible thought;
The breakwater, whitecapped and defiant.’ You say things I wish I had thought of.

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