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Bardo Jul 2022
I hadn't been there in ages, hadn't visited, I had no reason to
But then the Covid virus struck and Dublin where I was working was put into quarantine
I wasn't allowed to go up there anymore to work,
And I had no computer at home and no broadband/ WiFi at the time
So they sent me down to the Old Town
It was nice driving down the motorway, it was Autumn and the leaves they were all changing colour
The different shades of red, brown green and yellow
With the sun shining on the mountains and on the bay
It felt almost like I was going on my holidays,
The Old Town it had changed so much, there were all these new buildings,
Retail parks on the outskirts, hotels, new schools, civic buildings... coffee shops
It was lovely and clean and tidy
Like those living there were really proud of it,
The old town I'd known it was there also, in the background, a bit dusty now
There was the big old gothic church my Dad used take us to, to Mass some Sundays
There was the Port and the big ships along the Quay
There was the secondary school I was meant to go to... had we stayed...it looked old, a bit dilapidated now
I wondered was it still being used as a school,
In the Main Street there were still old names of shops that I recognized
The shoe shop where my Mom used buy us shoes
The chemist where my brother got his glasses... the Bakery
The cinema where we seen our first movie "The Magnificent Seven", it was all done up now... all different...
In the office things were... well...weird! ghostly!
A big modern office and some days I was the only one there, just me all on my own
Was like something out of a Sci-fi movie
Other days maybe two or three might come in to join me
All the others of course, they were all working from home,
Often I'd find my mind just filling with old memories and nostalgia...
I could hear the old ghosts calling, calling me to go back
I knew... I knew I had to go back there
Back to where it had all begun for me
The little seaside village where I was born.

So going home I took the coastal road not the motorway
Just the sight of the headland and the blue mountains sloping down to the sea
With the lighthouse there at the end
Just seeing them again gave me an old feeling of my father, my Dad
And then the village itself, the seafront... all the colourfully painted shops,
Sweet shops & novelty shops, the amusement arcade, pubs and hotels and B&B's  (Bed and Breakfasts)
After being away for nearly fifty years, it still looked...it still looked pretty much the same, was hard to believe
I stopped my car and went into a little supermarket shop to get a sandwich for the next day
As I looked around, I seen these two mature ladies there, they were around my own age
I thought to myself 'I might have gone to school with you once many years ago, one of you might even have been my wife had we stayed here and not moved away
I might have lived a more normal, a different life'
But then I thought 'Life is never that simple, is it'.
Outside I decided to go for a walk, to look around and reminisce.

There was the path, the pavement I used go to school on with my brothers
It was like returning to the scene of a crime
How I used to dread going to school sometimes
There was a teacher, a lady teacher that used scare me a lot, she terrified me so
I remember I got sick in class on several occasions
She put me outside once sitting on an upturned bin
I can still remember sitting there on that bin in the sun, feeling so lost and that I was a really bad boy, wishing I was home
I remember I used to get hives, itches on my skin
My Mom used keep me at home
She was afraid, she thought I'd give them to the other kids
I missed the addition and subtraction tables at school because of this
To this day I still don't know what 7 + 5 is, instead I bring it to 10, I know 5 is 3 + 2, so I say 7 + 3 is 10 and 2 is 12
And I know all the doubles, 7 + 6 is 6 + 6 is 12 and 1 is 13, funny that
How I used to dread going to school
Until that was... until one day I did well at something and I received some praise
Then things seemed to change after that, I wasn't as bothered anymore, I think then I realized I was doing better than some of the others in my class and that seemed to make a difference
I remembered sitting beside pretty little girls who used have lovely pink pencil cases with lots of fancy colourful things
Whereas me I barely had a pencil, a rubber (eraser) and a ruler
They were strange lovely creatures, the Girls with their lovely long hair and their cute little faces...
I remembered walking home on my own, with my little schoolbag on my back with all my books in it
It was such a beautiful place, the view with the beach and the sea and the faraway blue mountains
And yet, I used to worry about so many things
It's like even then it was all about...all about survival...
There was the big Chapel on the hill
Once before the Summer holidays they were looking for altar boys and someone put my name forward
Then on the first morning back to school after the Summer holidays
The teacher said you better get down to the church right away, like fast!! you're on the altar this morning !!!
I was terrified, I didn't know what I had to do, no one told me anything
So there I was on my own kneeling on this cold hard marble altar and it was hurting my knees something terrible
And the priest he's talking about God and the Devil and Evil or Hell or whatever
And all these people, the whole congregation their all staring up at us
And I'm petrified, and I started to get faint and nauseas
The priest had to stop the Mass
I can't remember if I got sick or passed out
I was so embarrassed and thought afterwards I was such a terrible bad person, I knew it'd be all around the school the story.

I walked on...our house was gone, knocked down, where there used to be three houses together attached, now there was only the end house
Our house used to be the middle house
It didn't look right now, the symmetry looked all wrong
It was like there was two missing teeth
Why did they have to knock it down ? I wondered. It saddened me a bit...

At another house I stopped, this used to have a shop, a small shop,  the shop was no longer there
This was my Best Friend's house, all the days we used to play football together in the back garden
Kicking the ball to each other
With our jumpers/ sweaters as goalposts
The first to score ten would win the game
I...I usually won
I always found you easy to read, it's like you only ran in straight lines,
I think you were a bit in awe of me for some reason
Maybe you wouldn't have been my friend if you'd beaten me
How did we become friends anyway, I wondered
I suppose coming home from school
We lived on the same road and were in the same class, we'd have met each other
I had two older brothers whereas you were the oldest
So our families would have had a different dynamic
I remember you had a delightfully silly younger brother
I remember your Mom, she was very pretty, she was a lot younger than my Mom
You used bring me in and give me a meal sometimes, we'd all sit and watch TV
There was a different feeling when I was in your house...a different atmosphere
But when your Dad would come home, he was a bit scary
And I knew it was then time for me to go home
You'd wonder afterwards what the lovely Mom saw in the scary Dad, adults they were a bit peculiar.

We were inseparable in those days, many mornings you'd hear the knock on the door
And the familiar greeting
"Hello Mrs B---, Is G---- in, is he coming out to play?"
We were always playing soccer up the garden
Or down on the beach, going out for miles to meet the tide, catching *****, looking under  stones to see what we might find
I remember we were very entrepreneurial
In the Summer we used collect returnable glass mineral bottles, Orange and Lemonade and Coca Cola
And we'd bring them back to the shop and get money back for them
And then we'd have a royal feast, we'd buy bottles of Orange and bags of crisps and ice cream pops and chocolate bars,
Remember all the different Ice pops there used to be, Choc Ices and Brunches and Orange splits, 99's... Ice cream cones
Chocolate bars, Smarties and Malteasers, Milky Bars and Milky Ways, Dairy Milk chocolate bars, fruit gums and Love hearts with little love messages written on them
We used hang around the amusement arcade, play the slot machines, maybe help some old lady collect her winnings, she might give us a tip
There was the bumper cars and the swingboats and music playing all the time on the jukeboxes
It was the seventies (the 70's) and glam rock was all the rage
Marc Bolan and T-Rex, and Slade and The Sweet and a million others
So many great songs, we couldn't wait to grow up and become one of those amazing creatures we saw on the telly
I'd never lived since as intensely as I did back then,
We'd stay out till late
We were like young hustlers going around,
It seemed the days they were never long enough, all the things we got up to,
We'd Caddy in the local golf course
And retrieve lost ***** from the ditches...
Heh! Remember... remember that time... the Brennan sisters, we were up one day near the school
There was building work going on
And there was this big high mound of clay
So we climbed to the top to take in the view
And then the two Brennan sisters came over
They lived nearby
They were in our class at school, we knew them only to see
They were smiling and laughing and giggling
They beckoned for us to come and follow them
We went wondering what was going on here
They led us back to their house, I think their parents must have been out
One of them came up to us and smiled
And then she pulled down her pants and showed it to us in all its wonderful glorious splendour
It was amazing... incredible... such a sight
Her beautiful...her splendid... her lovely... bare Bottom!
I remember thinking it was like a lovely ripe pear
One of Life's great mysteries had just been unveiled
And her there with this huge impish grin,
When we were going home we promised each other we'd not tell anyone, our parents, not even the priest in confession
About that great vision we'd just witnessed
It was the height of naughtiness
Yea! Those were the days...

I wondered, 'Whatever became of you Old Friend ?
I looked you up online but couldn't find your name anywhere, couldn't find anything about you
Were you even still alive ?
50 years was a long time, I'd barely made it this far myself, and I had a lot of scars to show for it
I thought rather amusingly that I should knock on your door
Maybe you were still living there,
But what was I hoping to find ? I wondered...
"Whose at the door ?", a woman's Voice inside might say,
"Just... just some crazy guy talking about 50 years ago" her dutiful husband would reply
That's probably how it would go
I felt like I was Rip Van Winkle awakening after being asleep for 100 years or in my case 50 years
What did I hope to find
What did I hope to see, an old man now just like myself
And I bet you'd tell me your opinions on the government and the economy
And how the village had changed over the years and how other old schoolmates of ours had got on in life
But No! that's not what I wanted to hear or see
I wanted to see you there again just like you were as a little kid
Your lovely youthful face smiling back at me
And you'd say, "I'll get the ball and we'll have a game, the first to ten wins"
This was what I was looking for, this was what I wanted to hear.

We were very close, were going to grow up together, go to the same schools...college
We'd always be friends
We'd meet all the trials of life together....
I hope Life worked out well for you, my friend
In a way...in a way I almost didn't want to know
If I learned you did well in Life I'd probably only get jealous
I'd start to think I was better than you and that I should have had those things you had
Life, this world it makes enemies of us all... eventually
It divides, is all about competing and comparing... and beating (I suppose).

I still remember that last night before I left forever
We were down on the beach, it was twilight, the tide was coming in... the waves slowly advancing
Just like in life I had no power to stop it, to change things,
I had no say, I didn't want to go and leave you Old Friend
No! I didn't want to go....

Thank you...thank you for being my friend, for being there
For all the time you gave me, I hope I didn't hurt you in any way.

I have a photograph, one solitary old black and white photo of the two of us
We're sitting on a barrel in our back garden on either side of my Dad whose in the middle
You look a bit uncertain, unsure of yourself, probably lost in the dynamic of my family,
I look at you and I think
"Whatever happened to you.... Beautiful Friend, whatever became of you"
And then I look at myself as well, and I think, I whisper
"Whatever became of me as well".
We lived a few miles from the main town in a seaside village. This happened during the Covid in 2020.
Michael R Burch Jan 2022
This is my modern English translation of Paul Valéry's poem “Le cimetière marin” (“The graveyard by the sea”). Valéry was buried in the seaside cemetery evoked in his best-known poem. From the vantage of the cemetery, the tombs seemed to “support” a sea-ceiling dotted with white sails. Valéry begins and ends his poem with this image ...

Excerpts from “Le cimetière marin” (“The graveyard by the sea”)
from Charmes ou poèmes (1922)
by Paul Valéry
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Do not, O my soul, aspire to immortal life, but exhaust what is possible.
—Pindar, Pythian Ode 3

1.
This tranquil ceiling, where white doves are sailing,
stands propped between tall pines and foundational tombs,
as the noonday sun composes, with its flames,
sea-waves forever forming and reforming ...
O, what a boon, when some lapsed thought expires,
to reflect on the placid face of Eternity!

5.
As a pear dissolves in the act of being eaten,
transformed, through sudden absence, to delight
relinquishing its shape within our mouths,
even so, I breathe in vapors I’ll become,
as the sea rejoices and its shores enlarge,
fed by lost souls devoured; more are rumored.

6.
Beautiful sky, my true-blue sky, ’tis I
who alters! Pride and indolence possessed me,
yet, somehow, I possessed real potency ...
But now I yield to your ephemeral vapors
as my shadow steals through stations of the dead;
its delicate silhouette crook-*******, “Forward!”

8.
... My soul still awaits reports of its nothingness ...

9.
... What corpse compels me forward, to no end?
What empty skull commends these strange bone-heaps?
A star broods over everything I lost ...

10.
... Here where so much antique marble
shudders over so many shadows,
the faithful sea slumbers ...

11.
... Watchful dog ...
Keep far from these peaceful tombs
the prudent doves, all impossible dreams,
the angels’ curious eyes ...

12.
... The brittle insect scratches out existence ...
... Life is enlarged by its lust for absence ...
... The bitterness of death is sweet and the mind clarified.

13.
... The dead do well here, secured here in this earth ...
... I am what mutates secretly in you ...

14.
I alone can express your apprehensions!
My penitence, my doubts, my limitations,
are fatal flaws in your exquisite diamond ...
But here in their marble-encumbered infinite night
a formless people sleeping at the roots of trees
have slowly adopted your cause ...

15.
... Where, now, are the kindly words of the loving dead? ...
... Now grubs consume, where tears were once composed ...

16.
... Everything dies, returns to earth, gets recycled ...

17.
And what of you, great Soul, do you still dream
there’s something truer than these deceitful colors:
each flash of golden surf on eyes of flesh?
Will you still sing, when you’re as light as air?
Everything perishes and has no presence!
I am not immune; Divine Impatience dies!

18.
Emaciate consolation, Immortality,
grotesquely clothed in your black and gold habit,
transfiguring death into some Madonna’s breast,
your pious ruse and cultivated lie:
who does not know and who does not reject
your empty skull and pandemonic laughter?

24.
The wind is rising! ... We must yet strive to live!
The immense sky opens and closes my book!
Waves surge through shell-shocked rocks, reeking spray!
O, fly, fly away, my sun-bedazzled pages!
Break, breakers! Break joyfully as you threaten to shatter
this tranquil ceiling where white doves are sailing!

*

“Le vent se lève! . . . il faut tenter de vivre!
L'air immense ouvre et referme mon livre,
La vague en poudre ose jaillir des rocs!
Envolez-vous, pages tout éblouies!
Rompez, vagues! Rompez d'eaux réjouies
Ce toit tranquille où picoraient des focs!”



PAUL VALERY TRANSLATION: “SECRET ODE”

“Secret Ode” is a poem by the French poet Paul Valéry about collapsing after a vigorous dance, watching the sun set, and seeing the immensity of the night sky as the stars begin to appear.

Ode secrète (“Secret Ode”)
by Paul Valéry
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The fall so exquisite, the ending so soft,
the struggle’s abandonment so delightful:
depositing the glistening body
on a bed of moss, after the dance!

Who has ever seen such a glow
illuminate a triumph
as these sun-brightened beads
crowning a sweat-drenched forehead!

Here, touched by the dusk's last light,
this body that achieved so much
by dancing and outdoing Hercules
now mimics the drooping rose-clumps!

Sleep then, our all-conquering hero,
come so soon to this tragic end,
for now the many-headed Hydra
reveals its Infiniteness …

Behold what Bull, what Bear, what Hound,
what Visions of limitless Conquests
beyond the boundaries of Time
the soul imposes on formless Space!

This is the supreme end, this glittering Light
beyond the control of mere monsters and gods,
as it gloriously reveals
the matchless immensity of the heavens!

This is Paul Valery’s bio from the Academy of American Poets:

Paul Valéry
(1871–1945)

Poet, essayist, and thinker Paul Ambroise Valéry was born in the Mediterranean town of Séte, France, on October 30, 1871. He attended the lycée at Montpellier and studied law at the University of Montpellier. Valéry left school early to move to Paris and pursue a life as a poet. In Paris, he was a regular member of Stéphane Mallarmé's Tuesday evening salons. It was at this time that he began to publish poems in avant-garde journals.

In 1892, while visiting relatives in Genoa, Valéry underwent a stark personal transformation. During a violent thunderstorm, he determined that he must free himself "at no matter what cost, from those falsehoods: literature and sentiment." He devoted the next twenty years to studying mathematics, philosophy, and language. From 1892 until 1912, he wrote no poetry. He did begin, however, to keep his ideas and notes in a series of journals, which were published in twenty-nine volumes in 1945. He also wrote essays and the book "La Soirée avec M. *****" ("The Evening with Monsieur *****," 1896).

Valéry supported himself during this period first with a job in the War Department, and then as a secretary at the Havas newspaper agency. This job required him to work only a few hours per day, and he spent the rest of his time pursuing his own ideas. He married Jeannie Gobillard in 1900, and they had one son and one daughter. In 1912 Andre Gide persuaded Valéry to collect and revise his earlier poems. In 1917 Valéry published "La Jeune Parque" ("The Young Fate"), a dramatic monologue of over five-hundred lines, and in 1920 he published "Album de vers anciens," 1890-1920 ("Album of Old Verses"). His second collection of poetry, "Charmes" ("Charms") appeared in 1922. Despite tremendous critical and popular acclaim, Valéry again put aside writing poetry. In 1925 he was elected to the Académe Francaise. He spent the remaining twenty years of his life on frequent lecture tours in and out of France, and he wrote numerous essays on poetry, painting, and dance. Paul Valéry died in Paris in July of 1945 and was given a state funeral.
Along with Paul Verlaine and Stéphane Mallarmé, Valéry is considered one the most important Symbolist writers. His highly self-conscious and philosophical style can also been seen to influence later English-language writers such T. S. Eliot and John Ashbery . His work as a critic and theorist of language was important to many of the structuralist critics of the 1960s and 1970s.

#VALERY #MRB-VALERY #MRBVALERY

Keywords/Tags: Paul Valery, French poem, English translation, sea, seaside, cemetery, grave, graves, graveyard, death, sail, sails, doves, ceiling, soul, souls, dance, sun, sunset, dusk, night, stars, infinity
Miriam Oct 2021
We built a ship beneath the stars
And drew an anchor from the rocks
We dug up treasure amongst the sand
And found our refuge in the docks
We birthed our home upon the waters
And set sail on the glistening blue
We eagerly climbed the rafters
And fell in love with the sea view
We sat under a carpet of stars
And sang sea shanties from long ago
We tanned on the decks all day
And told stories of sea monsters below
We dived down to the ocean depths
And caught the finest fish
We surfed and danced all the waves
And then dreamt about all we wish  
We never stopped exploring
And had a hunger for more
We traveled England and the world
And sailed to every shore
A seaside poem about a voyage
Dave Robertson Aug 2021
A deep pulse of spinning waltzers
burn electric thrills
while pre-teens buzzed on sucrose
and fried dough
scream hot: they want to go faster

back on the promenade
Renee and Don, eyes on a horizon,
warm themselves reminiscing in circles,
minds dancing under glitterball embers

further back, gapped tooth shop fronts
shelter ripped tents, cold on concrete,
meagre piles of trash bagged jetsam,
of those stopped here by memory’s
pernicious tides
and forgot
Dave Robertson Aug 2021
1.
I’m heading to the sea
in a slot not big enough to fit a holiday
so I’ll day
trip

I think I’m packed:
a mind still rattled by life and lockdowns?
check
a palpable desire for vistas unknown?
check
a rucksack of memories, of sand, of wafer cones,
of wasps, of crystalline, sweet wrapper lights on mad, unsafe beach rides, on windbreaks, on digging, on seaweed and brown British waves?
check

Let’s start this engine, then

2.
Should’ve gone before we left
the irony’s not lost on me
even though I’m now the boss of me
I’ve still had to stop in local circles
cos someone needs a ***

I’ll blame the coffee

3.
Frightening fast the local roads fade
the five and ten mile loops of life
are gone
and the roots we commute and commune on
rest bone rigid, obscured

Passing Crowland
impossibly flat plains
thoughts turn to darkness
and misunderstood witches lost here
until the smirk of Cowbit assuages

Only the Welland, alongside
still talks of home
til even she changes
speaks in wider verbs
tidal verbs of ebb and flow
showing thick mud beneath

These long, straight roads are deceptive
leaving meanders to river and mind
while hiding accidents in plain sight

4.
The road sentence ended
and after chewing a space to park
shoes changed to something wholly uncool
but fitting me well
first steps on the unsure grammar of sand
reminding that syntax here takes much more effort

a dune cleft gives a known view
I’ve never seen before
and then I’m through

sky and horizon blast me

for frozen moments I’m lost,
these common seas I shrug off in my head
smirk at
as nothing against turquoise
or rock raged waves
still bring tears
against my smile

I listen at the language in the shallows,
the rush and hustle,
and feel a glimmer of foreignness as I can’t make out the message
but I get the gist

5.
To honour holidays of old
I sat a spell in Wolla Bank car park
though inauthentically the rain didn’t fall

I was forced to imagine the windscreen steamed
and had no fish paste on white
as I’d paid full price to eat at a cafe
unheard of back in the day

I did read the car park info sign
about the clay pits around
where historical sea defences were mined
and that did the job of taking my mind back

and the closing thought of petrified trees
beneath the waves til very low tide
did its best to haunt

6.
Heading home
wistful I suppose,
though I’m not sure where I got all the wist

the sea is a keeper of memories
a chewer and cogitator
so when they return to the shore
and are spoken again
what you thought you knew back then
may have changed
deepened, softened
and hopefully your youthful idiocy
is allowed to be forgotten

if you came for the ride
thanks, as ever, for joining me x
Dave Robertson Aug 2021
Tell me you see ice cream,
cold British beaches, amber filtered
hanging bright buckets and spades
and pebbles and sand
tight lanes through time lost green fields
with only hedges passing judgement
tell me you see *****
(the good kind)
and flabby dad *** abs
that remember the potency of other times
tell me you see the sea
tell me you see me there
lua May 2021
Crashing waves against the crunch of sand
Touches my feet
Sinking into the softness beneath me
As the water stains my toes blue
And paints goosebumps
Paints chills
Across my legs
Up to my stomach
Full of the same crashing waves
Those which curl
And spin in whirlpools
Up to my chest
Into my lungs full of seasalt
And the bitterness of the morning sun
Down every branching vein
That reminds me of mangrove roots
Yet pale and blue
So small and delicate
It reaches my own shaking fingers
And to the rosiness of my cheeks
All I hear is the soft ringing of windchimes in my ears
And the splash that dissipates into nothing but tiny droplets
Maybe that’s what keeps me awake at night.
Sindi Apr 2021
Seaside
We lied
When we said we would hide
It was not intentional
It is just when you got to ten
There was no place to hide
At the seaside
© Sindi Kalumba
I arose from a chamber off the ivory coast,
passed the rainforest before taking a float

A dip in the island valley,
I trod to the meadow cote

Listened to the humming birds,
singing a halo note
https://www.instagram.com/wutheringsbronte/
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