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Thursday 15 December 2011



Veils of water as two breaking wavefronts meet, Cove Beach, Año Nuevo State Reserve, California. As a wave develops, it curls. Eventually, the curvature becomes too great to support the water at the top of the wave. Water pours down from the top forming a mini-waterfall, like a veil of water droplets covering the incoming wave. This breaking up of the wavefront then migrates outwards until the whole wavefront ends up in a wall of splash. This photo shows the moment when two breaking wavefronts collide, one forming from the left and going rightward; the other one forming from the right and going leftward. The detail of the wave is shown clearly, backlit by sunlight: photo by Wing-Chi Poon, 19 October 2007


that last lost fraction, fragment

of the past, redacted

turning inward, spent,

splits, then

cuts away

from the action, again -- that's

where the line breaks

upon itself, crested


Anonymous said...

I had a similar fascination w/ waves quite recently while down in Santa Cruz. The evening's low tide promised to be a once-in-a-decade spectacle, w/ the shore extending some half a mile out into the bay. That, however, was far less spectacular for me than the play of lines I for the first time noticed, the flowing curvatures, like one of Paul Klee's less abstract paintings, that indicate & occlude the differences between sea, shore & sky -- that somehow make everything stark but not rigid. (That evening was the inspiration for this exercise in contrast.)

&, yes, like you indicate in your poem, the lines of the sea itself, which break in such a way as to curve back upon themselves & begin again, it was all quite moving, even amidst all the tourists.

aditya said...


Reading this poem aloud is a lesson in itself. (In poetry & the other things as you know)

Though I believe in them .. I have never ever seen the sea or a wave in person. I returned home this morning. Back amongst the hills and the distant mountains.

Tried commenting on the post. Couldnt somehow get through. Beautiful images and a brilliant juxtaposition.

'respecting not the contested borders of being'



wave and poem, poem and wave --


where the line breaks

upon itself, crested"

I used to surf at Ano when I was in high school we'd make that mile long walk down the empty windswept beach, carrying those heavy longboards, paddle out by the rocks, waves always clean & fast, cold and desolate and always beautiful. . . . cold out there this morning too, beautiful clouds and clearing after last night's bit of rain --thanks for this one!


light coming into sky above still black
ridge, golden-crowned sparrow’s oh dear
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

that this and this bring us
one step nearer, when

“what is” for the most part
there, picture, there

orange edge of sun rising behind cloud,
moon in cloudless blue sky above point

Anonymous said...

aditya, I just needed to approve it as a moderator, since you were a first-time commenter. It is now on the. Thank you much.

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

I like the photograph of the wave but the poem is a virtuoso performance in itself.

TC said...

How sweet it is to chase a refracted wave in the company of great poets, scholars... and yes, a great poet-scholar-surfer dude!

An elite fleet indeed, I am humbled.

Steve, for you of the grand historical wave-knowledge, here is something writ long ago, very near your own watery precinct. A memento of being lullabyed by night, in the spell of the sea-sounds incoming just above Duxbury Reef.

Whistle Buoy

“what is” for the most part
there, picture, there


Heart-stopping post, that one you've linked us to, and, like the ocean, mysterious in its depths; particularly as concerns the speculative history beneath the surface of the images.

And speaking of poetic mysteries, how in the world did you get the ocean to stand on its head like that?

When Tom tumbled fathoms deep, he learned that there were many things in the world which he had never heard of.



Well, just as you have never seen the Pacific, I have never seen your Himalayas. And alas, never shall. Nor, for that matter, double alas, am I likely to ever see the Pacific again, painful as that is to say. Well, if I can muster the strength to ascend these hills, I can see the Bay... but, as Steve could readily explain, that's not the same thing at all. (Even a miserable old fool is incapable of mistaking a dirty grey puddle for the rolling dreamless fields of eternity.)


Who would say no to words like those, from one who has been conversant with the inner movements of the wine-dark sea?

Robb said...

This made me feel so good: "that's / where the line breaks / back / upon itself, crested"

My handecti is ringing.

TC said...

Robb, that was me calling on the handecti, to tell you how good it makes me feel to make you feel good.