Final draft -Seagull- Anne

27 May


This is where I sheltered.
A small house at the bottom of the hill,
painted yellow to fill it with light.
I look at it now
held together with tape and memories,
bursting with books
and outgrown coats.
I gave it three years tops.
And this is where I ran from,
packing two small kids into a car,
weekend after weekend,
to drive anywhere but here,
to the sea,
breathing with the tides,
skitting like tossed pebbles across the surface of the days.

When we found that seagull
in the skip outside the B&B,
I told them a story of a princess and a prince,
sister and brother, just like them,
running from the evil King of the Ravens,
protected by their faithful gull familiar.
They cried, because the beautiful bird,
with its brilliant-white and soft-grey plumage,
wing span the size of our house,
yellow beak and brittle eye,
so menacing in flight,
lay reduced in spirit,
dead, amongst builders rubble,
an old chair
and chip paper.

I am that bloody seagull.
I was their protector.
Still am.
A seagull,
like in the Chekov play we did at school,
shot dead for unrequited love.
I could have soared high.
I should have.
Instead I protected this place,
this place I ran from.
And this is where we stayed.
And this is where they venture from,
in short forays,
returning to the safety of my wing span.

If I could press on the touch screen of our life,
I could lift us up,
hold us on the tip of my finger
careful not to let us fall
and gently PASTE us where I choose.
If I could do this,
our life could be measured out in success
not disappointments.

And yet, this is where they run to.

3 Responses to “Final draft -Seagull- Anne”

  1. mouthypoets May 27, 2013 at 11:30 am #

    Hey Anne,

    Great to see you have a final draft up! I particularly like what you are doing with imagery here, the combination of heightened language and the mundane, lines like, “skitting like tossed pebbles across the surface of the days.” The image of finding the seagull in the skip is amazing, so memorable and with a weight of metaphor!

    “wing span the size of our house,” is an amazing line, particularly within the context! I also love the description of a birds eyes as brittle. So so so beautiful and profound and that leads me into
    “dead, amongst builders rubble,
    an old chair
    and chip paper.”

    Wow, what a clear image you have given me and what a contrast, I can see it all happening in front of me and I am feeling what the children and the mother are feeling but at the same time the hightened language makes me feel that there is a metaphorical weight to these words that is hitting me even deeper – awesome.

    “I am that bloody seagull”… great use of bloody!

    I have a couple lingering questions…
    -How was the seagull a protector? I didn’t understand that connection.
    -I am also not sure where ‘this place’ is, am I supposed to?
    -I want to challenge “brilliant-white” & “reduced in spirit” as outstandingly unoriginal in contrast with the rest of the poem.
    -How did you consider stanza’s and line breaks in this piece? There is a lot going on I think you could utilise a consistent stanza and line length more to clarify the movement and the action – I think this will also help you prepare the poem for performance as it will initiate your thinking when it comes to where the pauses and breaks need to be etc.

    I hope this is helpful!
    Debris xxx

  2. Sonia Jarema May 27, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

    This is a very powerful poem. Loved the imagery and the ‘breathing with the tides’. I agree with comment above about looking at the line and stanza breaks. Maybe try recording it and see where you naturally pause as well as seeing where pauses(line breaks) can build tension. It’s a very vivid poem. Thank you for sharing it.

    • secondanne May 29, 2013 at 11:29 pm #

      Really helpful, thanks. I think the stanzas are like chapters in my head and for a poem, you’re both right- I need to break it down more. Thanks for the positive words- I will take a look at the elements you mention and see what I can do.

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