The sea, the sibilant sea

Poetry

It’s August, and what says ‘summer holidays’ more potently than the seaside? Well, nothing could drag me there when it’s all crowded beaches, kiss-me-quick hats and donkey rides. But off-season, there’s nowhere better. A walk along the sand, beachcombing, inspecting rock pools, and most of all, looking out far to the distant horizon, watching ships as they travel back and forth, imagining the seashore as a gateway to journeys extending beyond that horizon …

So when Rebecca of Fake Flamenco challenged us to write a haibun for this month’s Poetry Challenge, and asked us to take ‘door’ in its widest sense as our subject, I thought I knew what I’d explore.

But what’s a haibun? I hear you ask. This: ‘Contemporary practice of haibun composition in English is continually evolving. Generally, a haibun consists of one or more paragraphs of prose written in a concise, imagistic haikai style, and one or more haiku.’ Wikipedia

The sea, the sea

A susurration of waves: oscillating, softly slapping and surging across crushed seashells on the sandy shingle: soothing; sibilant. Sucking, settling, restoring.  Saluting the shoreline in a ceaseless cycle.  A portal to distant islands and continents beyond the horizon.

Waves advance

greet the sandy shingled shore

Quite unceasingly.

I’m going to be quite cheeky here. Sammi, over at Sammi Scribbles, has a fun weekend challenge in which she invites us to write 28 words – neither more nor fewer – prompted by the word sibilance. So let’s pinch part of what I wrote for Rebecca:

A susurration of waves: oscillating, softly slapping and surging across crushed seashells on the sandy shingle: soothing; sibilant. Sucking, settling, restoring.  Saluting the shoreline in a ceaseless cycle.‘  

64 thoughts on “The sea, the sibilant sea

    1. Oh, of course. An entirely British reference. Here’s Wikipedia: A kiss-me-quick hat is a British seaside novelty hat, typically bearing the words “Kiss me quick” or “Kiss me quick, squeeze me slow”. Culturally, The Daily Telegraph describes them as “one step up from a knotted handkerchief”

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      1. Some of them are. But this was a single 18 month old who had us on our toes from morning tlll night! She’s as likely to speak Spanish as English to you by the way – oh, and Catalan too. Just single words – so far.

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  1. Absolutely fabulous in both words and pictures. Took me back to a similar poem I wrote about the sea (though most definitely not a haibun) that more or less came to me in the middle of the night! (Had to have a look, sibilant was not used, but it should have been)

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  2. With you 100% on the beauty of the off-season Margaret! As for your response to the challenge – outstanding! And what a tongue twister that would be!!! Beautiful images as well

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  3. That photograph! Simply gorgeous! But those words are gorgeous too, Margaret. Such a rich sensory experience to gaze at that photograph and drink in those words. Thank you.

    It also occurs to me that perhaps I’m naturally drawn to haibun. I shall give this some thought…

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    1. That’s an interesting thought, Sandra. I wonder if I might be too. I often think of you and wonder how things are. I might even stretch to an email one of these days!

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  4. Your lovely photographs of the sea (especially the second photo) make me want to jump in the car and drive to the coast not least as we are beginning to heat up again here in Suffolk. But, I am with you about August, these days there won’t be a slither of local beach without humans. When I was a child there was part of the Suffolk coast where we’d go and you’d not see another person all day even in August.

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      1. Yes, it’s true. Hard to believe nowadays. I was wondering whether, if you’re prepared to walk with all the beach stuff and endure the midges, you might find somewhere similar in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland?

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  5. Beautifully expressed, Margaret! And, these photos, breathtaking. I’d love to be there. 🙂 Thank you for explaining the haibun.

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