Seagulls and Smugglers

It must be wrong to fret for certainty – to race through the book to gulp down the happy ending.  It’s wrong not only for us but for those whose lives we touch. Our anxieties and terrors rub off on others. Maybe some of us cope by venting our fears on others or by building empires  – on sands which are forever shifting. In vain is our peace achieved though projecting our terrors on to others.

And so I dwell for a  moment on the cry of seagulls. It was what we heard after the train pulled to a halt at our seaside destination, 30 and more  years ago, the home town of my parents.

The cry of the gulls was the last thing we heard before we departed for home again.

Between our arriving and leaving there was not always harmony. But we loved the place, the red cliffs, the sands which did not shift, the harbour side and its little lanes, the glittering shallows.

The red cliffs formed a high headland with sea in a great arc beneath it. And inside the headland there was a smugglers’ tunnel, which intrigued my children – and near its entrance a small zoo.

I’ve visited this place in my mind more than once since starting these posts. It can only be a metaphor, like its harbour, for a place of safety and of homecoming. May that metaphor represent something true for us wherever our travels take us.

I leave its imagery there and rest in its existence, as Mrs Llew and I and all those we love continue with their lives, as we battle on. What troubles us should not make others suffer.

And I remember dreaming of a small sailing ship which waits – no hurry – in a sunny harbour, and its welcoming angel.


About lleweton

Long retired.
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15 Responses to Seagulls and Smugglers

  1. Pooka says:

    Like the Grey Havens. Journeying to catch the ships, off to a new home.

    • lleweton says:

      Yes Pooka; that indeed occurred to me after I wrote it. Perhaps it’s an archetype, because there was nothing consciously derivative in my use of the image. After I had written the piece I checked back to when I first mentioned it here, August 10 last year. Thanks for pointing out the similarity.

  2. Pooka says:

    Thanks, Llew. That one is one of my personal favorites. I return to it very often. Somehow, I captured the future as well as the past in that one. It’s like someone else wrote it, almost.

    • lleweton says:

      Hallo again, Pooka: I agree about your last sentence here. I say this with trepidation. It is far beyond my spiritual ‘pay grade’ – but after a lifetime of reporting and editing what other people have said, I have discovered that in writing of my own feelings and thoughts, the priority is to listen…

  3. Pooka says:

    Found another, Things Are Different, while going through the archives. I’m trying to sort out how I’m going to revive Paper Screams. All this talk and imagery has inspired me to get back to it.

  4. lleweton says:

    A love poem; in a seascape, with its ‘scupping waters’. This is moving, and vivid. May I say – even if I am being simplistic – that it became accessible to me when I mentally punctuated it? I am not suggesting you should. This must come from the poetic forms you decide to choose. May your muse bless your revisions.

  5. Pooka says:

    I’m not studied in poetic forms. At one point, realizing I was not experiencing some short episode, rather I’d be writing thes poems over a long time, I decided against learning the proper construction and treatment of poetry. I guess it could be called free-form and in some cases more like prose with structure.

    “Things Are Different” is one of several that I intentionally broke up and did not punctuate. That was specifically so that the reader would be able to collect the pictures freely. This theme is something I can’t always work out, but it’s deeper in content than most of the other pieces I write. You can pull more than one reading from these, and that’s also intentional. I think you might have caught that.

    Call it a self-revising poem?

    • lleweton says:

      That makes good sense. I think form – or maybe format – matters only to the extent that it effectively conveys meaning. Such poetic instincts that I may have strain to break free of the structure of my prose. I think that tension may work for me. I’m thinking of the recent development of my posts on this site, not the kind of writing from which I made my living, although a vivid metaphor or image could often be a bonus. Enough of this detached analysis though. ‘For the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.’

      Best wishes to you and yours.

  6. Pooka says:

    I love how your posts have a sort of overheard quality to them. You break into and work through a story as if the reader just happened at the right time to come in close enough to hear. Then it all fades out. Very effective in enticing the reader to come back for more.

    • lleweton says:

      I dare to believe that this correspondence has been helpful and encouraging for both of us, Pooka. I had no idea of the effect of my pieces as you describe it here. I am grateful and I trust it will keep me on course – and that it means that something of value will have been born out of what was a family tragedy. On the subject of poetic forms, in my schooldays pupils were given exercises in say, writing a Shakespearean sonnet. Some were very skilled and that may have led them into various artistic careers, but the technical ability to reproduce a poetic form did not make them poets. Meanwhile I have been looking back at my private journal and have re-read a couple of pieces I wrote three years ago, where what I wanted to say did find expression in a poetic form – or maybe shape. Anyway I’ll copy them into an e-mail and send them to your address separately. They may indicate something of my own explorations.

  7. Pooka says:

    I do remember having to do the same in early school years. Never really enjoyed it. I had little interest in the stuff of poetry. I did love creative writing from the start and was always working on various epic stories which never made it to full completion. Some of the work still exists, and I’ve re-tried my hand at it a few times over the years. Seems I’m not really cut out for it. Winter Story is one from not too long ago.
    Khalil Gibran, I think, of all the poets, sets me to writing. He had pictures and a way of making the move in his words.

    Thank you very much for sharing your poems. They are a nice reflection of your writing here, and draw out the beauty of the flora in which you’ve walked. It has an aged quality, maybe like a long-kept wine. I enjoy exploring others’ methods, and your framing of herbs and flowers in time is wonderful.

    • lleweton says:

      I’ve just read ‘Winter Story’ – vivid, immediate, flowing prose which carries the reader forward. I’ve also looked up Khalil Gibran, of whom I had not heard. It seems you’re riding ahead in good company. Navigate safely and always trust your own discernment.

  8. Pooka says:

    Thank you much. Maybe I’ll do more of that story someday, but it’s sort of fun, just leaving it hanging. Wondering what will happen next.

    Gibran’s “The Wanderer” is my favorite, I believe.

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