The tolling sea

The distant rote of granite shoals, sullen, like a
Mystagogue, worshiper of the white haired,
White bearded waves, waits and watches for
The sea-yard god; what is a god, a god is unison.

In pots, the smell of salt, powder for sails, autumn
Dust winder; the season rages into what it reaches-
The fish, the whale’s backbone, the shore, it tosses
The broken oar and the dead men. The sea howl

And the tolling bell, it measures time rung by the
Tide swell. Time counted by anxious worried women
Lying in black veils, lying awake, unweaving wedding
Gowns to piece together the past and the future;

Calloused, withered hands patient to some degree,
Keeping their rages, dwellers in death; unpropitiated
Prayers reaching to the sea’s edge, the torn whitecapped
Waves, the shattered voices; salt is on the black roses.

Waves swell and the grained face sand ages in tidal pools,
Deep among the mussels and shoulders of the sea; the salt
Air breathes the water, untamed, a conveyor of souls. That is
What is remembered. That is and was from the beginning.

Copyright © 07/21/2019 lance sheridan®

The tolling sea

This entry was posted in Poetry.

17 comments on “The tolling sea

  1. ❦Kara❦ says:

    Remarkable, Lance. Best wishes on your book hiatus. Come back to visit now and then.


  2. lampmagician says:

    Reblogged this on lampmagician and commented:
    Magnificent site of a beginning 🙏

  3. lampmagician says:

    That’s always my honor to take part in your great words, as I see you have generously spent some of your goals, I must take time to enjoy all word by word, already I am getting ready to begin my holiday trip, have a good time my friend and thank you so much.

  4. Another outstanding piece!

  5. The sea with the mystical waves returning what was lost at sea to those who lay in wait for their lost loved ones.

  6. norise says:

    meraviglia, bellissimi versi!

  7. MOMENTS says:

    Beautifully woven as always, Lance. This poem is very pictorial with its marvelous imagery. I could smell, taste, hear and touch the power of the sea and its waves. I could see through the fish, the dead fishermen and their mourning wives. Love how you blend past and future with this powerful image:

    “Lying in black veils, lying awake, unweaving wedding
    Gowns to piece together the past and the future;”

    This is also the very action of the poet, a time weaver. Aren’t we all that? I love poems that deal with time, human existence and the sea.
    Such a pleasure to revisit your blog when I have a bit of time.

  8. Devon Brock says:


    I couldn’t help myself from diving into this poem, no pun intended. The sea is such a useful device for describing a turbulent mind, those subconscious crashings, “rote” – to be repeated, to be learned and reckoned with. And you do it so well. This reminds of Baudelaire’s “Man and the Sea” but more immediate and threatening. “Salt is on the black roses”, what a killer line, pun intended – certain death and preservation of the beautiful though haunting moments of our lives. The imagery is violent, hopeful at times, but in the end, through reflection, is the cold comfort of “life is what it is”. Superb.


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