Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Stacks


image by navin sarma


The Stacks

“I’ve always considered myself a minor writer.
My province is small, but I try to explore it
very, very thoroughly.”--Leonard Cohen

Thick fog clung like a cobweb
to that narrow couple of miles of coast
near Kalaloch, as we enjoyed a sunny
snippet of Indian summer, carrying
our picnic in a pink cooler out onto
a grassy bluff above the beach, tossing
a red tartan blanket over the lone park table,
trying to explain to our girls how a grove
of misshapen tree giants formed their burls.

Munching our apple & pineapple slices,
turkey sandwiches & sugar cookies,
we sat transfixed in soft silence,
drawn to the sibilance of the big surf,
never tiring of the eternal drama of waves
swelling, cresting, and pounding onto a beach
where sea salt, and broken colorful shells
were sprinkled on the gray-brown sand
like wild seasoning;

adorned with bleached Picasso-like twisted piles
of driftwood snakes, dragons, and ships of war,
bound up by fat shiny kelp whips, bent
around each other like Holocaust victims
in their killing pits, pausing patiently for 
varying degrees of petrification, gleefully awaiting
our pliant fingers to pluck some of them up,
rub them clean, and transport them inland
to reside within the sweetness of our garden.

A few short miles up the shore it seemed
that nothing could have prepared me for
the raw exhilaration of my first glimpse
of Ruby Beach, its steep trail dark with mud,
dropping like a sleeping lizard down through
a thick fringe of forest, the path continuing
past massive mausoleums & headstones of wood,
transitioning from large gravel to pea gravel
to a long naked stretch of slick black sand,
girdled with tall granite cliffs, that had wide jagged
crevices slashed deep within them, making
their edges resemble raised stone hands
with their fat ferrous fingers extending to heaven;
with seal caves and eel bore-holes carved
by the sea at their mossy bases;

all magnificent & mesmerizing, 
yet paled to nothing
when compared to the huge rock fists
that were the sea stacks, thrusting up
out of the soaked sand like biblical towers,
dotted with crewcut sea grass and short
hardy trees that were wind-bent
like old beach dwarves, and covered
with clouds of nesting gulls & terns;

magical monoliths standing alone off shore,
in ragged Neptunian squads up and down
the coast, survivors, as the fury of the ocean
had clawed at the cliffs for eons, and the stacks
just refused to go down, to erode, to bend a knee;

and one cannot ever gaze upon them without
being cheered by their defiance, 
being respectful of their heroics,
being awed by their beauty,

and transferring some of their tenacity
to the core of tensions brought
to that beach, and then left there
to deteriorate and blow back out
over busy waves.

Glenn Buttkus

February 2013

Posted over at dVerse Poets-Poetics

Would you like to hear the author read this poem to you?



15 comments:

Brian Miller said...

really nice energy in this glenn...esp in your response to them...you capture a bit of it in your description and make me really want to go there to see the sand, the fists of rock...the raised stone hands...sounds wonderful...picasso like and holocaust victims...dang...what descriptions....

Claudia said...

oh wow...cool images in this glenn...sounds like a magical place...and now i wanna go for a picnic on the beach...sigh

Mary said...

I'm going to comment on the Cohen quote. I like it. I think to myself if HE is a minor writer, what are the rest of us? Ha!

I do agree with exploring our province thoroughly. I think that is what many of us do here at dVerse!

Laurie Kolp said...

So vivid... and beautiful. I especially like:

all magnificent & mesmerizing,
yet paled to nothing
when compared to the huge rock fists
that were the sea stacks, thrusting up
out of the soaked sand like biblical towers,
dotted with crewcut sea grass and short
hardy trees that were wind-bent
like old beach dwarves, and covered
with clouds of nesting gulls & terns

... maybe we, along with Mary, should write a collaborative beach poem.

Glenn Buttkus said...

Collaboration with poetic accommodation might be fun some time, maybe an nine stanza poem written one stanza at a time, then emailed to each other for their contribution, and so on; three emails, three minds, three poets. My email is gbuttkus@yahoo.com. So drop by if you really want to mix it up.

rumoursofrhyme said...

I find beaches really inspirational too - there's something about the fact that they are always changing, and yet always somehow the same too. This one sounds like a place I would love to visit.

Susan Daniels said...

So beautiful. Now I want to go there.

Brudberg said...

That place and the photo makes me want to go immediately wonderful

thecourseofourseasons.com said...

a thorough exploration of your province - wonderful! K

Bodhirose said...

Clear and vivid images so beautifully describing the beauty of the beach and "stacks". Truly wonderful.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Magnificent & mesmerizing words Glenn, brought to their glory by your reading.

Excellent.

Anna :o]

lucychili said...

beaches, wild places have energy and intensity. well written

Dave King said...

bent
around each other like Holocaust victims
in their killing pits, pausing patiently for
varying degrees of petrification,

Absolutely stunning image!

Susan said...

"...adorned with bleached Picasso-like twisted piles
of driftwood snakes, dragons, and ships of war,
bound up by fat shiny kelp whips, bent
around each other like Holocaust victims
in their killing pits, pausing patiently for
varying degrees of petrification, gleefully awaiting
our pliant fingers to pluck some of them up,
rub them clean, and transport them inland
to reside within the sweetness of our garden."

The mind of this narrator and you, taking every surface into the depths of experience--all that one mind can hold. I cried in here, and then, thanks to your skill, by the end of the poem I emerged refreshed and thanked God for the here and now. Beautifully done.

navinsarmaphotography said...

hi glen, i have no problem with you posting my image but please include the version with the watermark. thanks:

http://navinsarmaphotography.com/wp-content/gallery/places/northamerica/pacnw/second_beach_sea_stack_reflection_tidepool_clouds.jpg