i breathe the salted air

Ode to the sea

Not a single walk out one hundred
yards or more
could boast about being free
from a shore,
or a hook or a net;
without any effort of being made to
remove bodies
of mackerel or squid to its
final resting place.

A lone fisherman carries in his hands
the lifeless body
of a fine fish, and making the most
distressing appeal
to a shore man for aid to enable
him to pursue a
wooden coffin to bury it in.

My heart aches and a drowsy numbness
pains my sense
as though of seawater I had drunk, or
emptied some dull boat
to the drains in some melodious plot
of tidal green,
and fishermen numberless drowning
in full-throated ease.

O, for a draught of waves that have
been lingering a long age
in the deep-delved sea, or for a
breaker full of brine,
its blushing warmth with beaded bubbles
winking at the brim,
and salted mouth that I might drink and
leave this world unseen.

As I wade far away, dissolve, and
quite forgot,
no longer among the dunes I have
never known,
my weariness and last grey hairs-
my body grows pale
and spectre-thin, and dies;
where but to think is full of sorrow
and leaden-weight despaired.

Away! away! As I walk into the sea,
charioted by fish
and crab, by wings of gulls; haply
the king moon
sits on its throne, clustered around
by starry skies,
but here there is no light.

I cannot see my feet in the clay
of tides, nor feel
the softness of night; I am embalmed
in darkness and its
pastoral eglantine. Fast fading, I am
covered up in waves,
in their murmurous haunt of death.

#1Ode to the sea


Sunlight and reflections in the seaside mud,
thrilling children wired for a summer;
they dance along the changing tide.

The wind howls, the sea yelps,
children’s voices measured out in time;
rung like a bell of the unhurried.

The children weave, the children wind,
they unravel the morning, the past;
time stops, and time is never ending.

Sundown, sunup, the children never leave,
their images reflecting in a watery mirror;
it glows more intense with their moving spirits.

The sun, a bloom more sudden than a moon,
budding along the hedges of dunes;
a morning arises with its voluptuary sweetness.

The children came by day, like husks of shells
washing along the beach and into tidal pools;
they speak a language, but not of the living.

Dead water, dead sand, like dust in the air,
dark gulls with flickering tongues; dead scales
on fish, rattling like tin in cups of brine.

The moment sank into the asphalt of the horizon,
the sea now a waning stranger. The children
ghosted, stone white faces; they kick the empty pails.

They left their bodies on an empty shoreline,
without enchantment, their laughter ceased to amuse;
they are no more than exasperated spirits.

Their smiles cracking like disfigured streets;
now paved over where there was once a beach.
Faded, blowing, no longer resembling a life.


203 comments on “i breathe the salted air

  1. Ode to the Sea was at once nostalgic & haunting. I love the images too.

  2. rabirius says:

    Excellent work, Lance. Your words really give a sense of standing by the sea.

  3. Very powerful, your choice of words can be felt. Perfect pictures.

  4. Dulcy Singh says:

    All your compositions are wonderful 👍

  5. You have a very rhythmic flow of expressions keeping the reader spellbound with your lovely compositions ! Thanks for the treat & keep up the excellent touch !All the best !

  6. Syd Weedon says:

    I turned on new post notifications for you. I do like your stuff.

  7. An “Ode to the Sea” which discusses the death of a sailor (or at least, the narrator) but not the wonderful things about the sea? Could it be that this person loved the sea so much that he preferred the vast, saltine, aquatic coffin against the small wooden one given to the fish? That is quite deep… like, Litke Deep-

    As for “Reflections”… who knew something as simple as children leaving the beach could be so sad? How much joy and livelihood escapes like heat during the night- From the four poems I’ve read so far, I can see why you were internationally published!

    • You’re very kind to write such elaborate reviews of my poems, to which I’m completely grateful for. Their deep and meaningful, ones that any writer would cherish. My very sincere thanks and appreciation. Blessings.

  8. VEM comigo! says:

    As tuas palavras traduzem o significado de sensibilidade. Adorei!👏👏👏

  9. Reblogged this on strategic teams and commented:
    Two marvellous poems by poet Lance Sheridan. Take a moment to enjoy and reflect…

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