Poem ‘At Cromer’

At Cromer

When I look down toward the beach,
the distant pier seems to stride
forward from the shining sea.
I like to look beyond,
to the bands of turquoise and blue,
an ocean painted in bold,
abandoned strokes.

Why are we drawn to the waves?
Those elemental rhythms,
sounds and colours
of a primary world,
where sparse pointillist spots
busy themselves on
yellow-ochre sands.

Some days the morning
unfolds through mists,
groynes spacing out
the distances along the strand,
until a final fade-out,
well before the sea
can meet the sky.

Overhead, pterodactyl shapes
patrol against fresh patches
of blue. As I approach,
the blurred semblances
of buildings appear, rectangles
feathered violet or grey,
as if stepping off the cliff.

Β© copyright df barker 2011, first published in poetry collection ‘Anonymous Lines’, available for purchase here:Β http://liten.be//gHmf9

*Painting from an original, digitally enhanced.


  1. Soma Mukherjee · December 30, 2011

    beautiful and its so true nothing is as soul soothing and calming as nature
    loved the way you have described the painting in as powerful words…


  2. thesweetkitten · December 30, 2011

    Soothing words, beautiful image!


  3. df barker · December 30, 2011

    Soma, you are so very kind – I am so grateful for your comments.


  4. claudia · December 30, 2011

    Why are we drawn to the waves?
    Those elemental rhythms… a question i have asked myself many times..sometimes i think it’s maybe to reset our own stressful rhythm pattern.. a beautiful poem full with the rhythm of the sea…makes me wanna stand on that cliff..


  5. df barker · December 30, 2011

    Yes, you may well be right, standing by the sea perhaps makes us realise that life has a rhythm and a pace which we often forget in this ‘busy’ world. Yet, this ‘busy’ world does bring us the benefits of this, the internet etc. And don’t jump off that cliff! Thank you!


  6. Ina · December 30, 2011

    Hi David

    I am glad to have found this posting, what a lovely image and picture to take in this afternoon. The English cost can be so dramtically beautiful with those fantastic cliffs!

    An ocean painted in bold abandoned strokes… I love that part!

    That place where the sea almost meets the sky, I suppose that is where inspiration lives.

    I also wonder why the waves give us those moments of reflection, and I still don’t know why, ( it probably is the pace and that rhythm of all times) , but they do. πŸ™‚

    This will look great on the Poetry from the sea blog πŸ™‚


  7. df barker · December 30, 2011

    Hi – thanks again Ina and yes, I would be honoured if you put it on your Sea Blog! Thank you for your comments.


  8. susielindau · December 30, 2011

    I love how you painted your poem with words.


  9. James Brandon O'Shea · December 30, 2011

    Got kind of lost in this one (in a good way). Looking forward to more in the new year.


  10. poeticjourney · December 30, 2011

    Glad to see a post from you. Beautiful piece right here. God Bless πŸ™‚


  11. granbee · December 30, 2011

    How wonderful to “step off a cliff” into this dream-scene! Your painting says it all–and then your poem led me on from there!


  12. Thomas Davis · December 31, 2011

    Both the poem and painting are imagistic in nature. What a wonderful fountain of creativity.


  13. dancingantelope · December 31, 2011

    I love the way light glows and shines through your paintings. Enchanting.

    The colors remind me of a late November afternoon at Beachy Head some years back.


  14. Mama Zen · December 31, 2011

    Ah, this is lovely! Beautiful flow and imagery.


  15. kathryningrid · December 31, 2011

    What a beautiful wash of imagery, from the cool and sweeping painting (whose brushwork reminds me in the highlights of some things I really love in Sargent’s bravura work) to the rhythmic, rolling waves of the poetry. Ahhh!


  16. kvennarad · December 31, 2011

    This isn’t a criticism, it’s curiosity. Why not “the distant pier strides forward from the shining sea”?

    Marie Marshall


  17. contemplativemoorings · December 31, 2011

    We are certainly drawn to cyclic motion…probably is the influence of the sun and the moon…
    Plus it makes for a good painting πŸ™‚


  18. df barker · December 31, 2011

    Hi, I don’t really know, perhaps just one of my idiosyncrasies! Thank you.


  19. df barker · December 31, 2011

    You are so kind, thank you – I appreciate it.


  20. df barker · December 31, 2011

    Thank you so much for your comments!


  21. patriciaspreng · December 31, 2011

    to breathe within the rhythm of the waves brings peace and quiet reflection… I could sit and stare for hours (given the right temp!)

    Your painting, a dreamlike mirror of your words… peaceful.


  22. zumpoems · December 31, 2011

    Exquisitely beautiful. Truly! This captures such an essence of beauty in the use of words.


  23. dancingantelope · December 31, 2011

    Really, there is something about the light and style of your paintings that stands apart from so much art I’ve seen in my life. It is as beautiful and impressive in it’s style to me as Anselm Keifer’s works are impactful in their way. Your paintings are like the words in a haiku – condensing the essence and expanding it on canvas.


  24. Betty Hayes Albright · January 1, 2012

    You’ve captured the essence of the sea – (oh, how I love poems about the sea!!)

    “Why are we drawn to the waves?
    Those elemental rhythms,”

    Yes, it is that, and it is all the other images in your poem. Thank you for this one, I need to come back and read again and again!


  25. kvennarad · January 1, 2012

    I understand. One of mine is to avoid similes. I guess it has become a fetish, a symptom of OCD. 😦

    Happy New Year.


  26. Adult Satires · January 1, 2012

    I didn’t understand it, but your pics are breath taking! πŸ™‚


  27. Eve Redwater · January 1, 2012

    David, this one is so pretty! I love all the imagery. “… feathered violet or grey, as if stepping off the cliff.” is beautiful. You inspire me to write better!


  28. Loa Evren · January 2, 2012

    Hey, truly fascinating. The ocean mirrors the soul in a way that we really can’t explain…Well, you did. I’m brand new to this site, and I see that it has a corner of true meaning. Thank you very much for this work.


  29. Three Well Beings · January 2, 2012

    Oh but this is beautiful, David. My “go to” spot is the ocean. I can’t imagine living where I couldn’t get to the shore regularly, because it’s where I settle any life earthquakes. I can find peace there like nowhere else, and this absolutely beautiful piece captures my feelings in ways I could not. And your accompanying artwork is stunning. One of my favorite artists is Turner, and I see a little “Turner” in this watercolor, is it? But you somehow infuse a modern and more current eye–your versatility is really inspiring. I hope you have a very happy, healthy year, steeped in developing your talent and creativity. Debra


  30. Angela · January 2, 2012

    Beautiful, as always, David.


  31. df barker · January 2, 2012

    Debra, you are so very kind! I am grateful. The painting is a mixture of oil and acrylic, and I’m flattered that you mention Turner. Thank you!


  32. Ken W. Simpson · January 3, 2012

    Another beautiful poem, superbly illustrated


  33. Joe Labriola · January 3, 2012

    beautiful words and image!


  34. thepoeticgoblin · January 3, 2012

    Stunning work!


  35. journeyintopoetry · January 3, 2012


    What an absolutely delightful poem – I can’t stop reading it over and over!
    And this painting – well – it just has to be my very favourite of yours I have seen so far! It totally captivates me, draws me right into its very heart. – thank you.



  36. reading-stars · January 3, 2012

    Did you get that crisp white with the acrylics? I find them so difficult – so not pliable, wish I could master the technique (can only use them on fabrics and ceramics ) I tried to add an acrylic once for good flesh tones and completely ruined a piece I had worked for weeks in oils. You are so good .. I like the last strong stanza of your poetry too, such great flow as always. The picture makes me remember the image of the cliffs as the mists swirl and you have that squint to focus .. spot on!


  37. df barker · January 3, 2012

    Hi – thank you so much for your comments. Yes, I know what you mean about acrylics, I’m not a huge fan because they are difficult to master. I often start by ‘going for it’ in acrylic, working with speed and gusto. Once dried, or feel I can’t do anymore in acrylic I get the oils out and do a bit more patient work! The white here, as far as I can recall, was done in oil.
    Thank you!


  38. reading-stars · January 4, 2012

    Oh yes, acrylics make a good wash, especially for transparency and the quick drying time. πŸ™‚ However you do it, you do it well. πŸ™‚


  39. lscotthoughts · January 5, 2012


    This is amazing…your painting is not only in the visual; you paint your words so beautifully with pen in hand. You convey a soothing place with beauty surrounding. I can hear the waves and I can see the bands of turquoise and blue…just lovely!


  40. pathwriter · January 5, 2012

    Beautifully expressed. I love the ocean and have lately been having “visions” of living in a simple little cottage by the ocean. Perhaps one day….


  41. bardessdmdenton · January 6, 2012

    As always, David, you have painted uniquely and enjoyably with the brush and pen.


  42. Pixel Safari · January 11, 2012

    “When I look down toward the beach,
    the distant pier seems to stride
    forward from the shining sea.
    I like to look beyond,
    to the bands of turquoise and blue,
    an ocean painted in bold,
    abandoned strokes.”

    What lovely prose . . . I will remember this, and when I don my scuba gear and jump into that ocean of “turquoise and blue,” your poem will flow though my head like a mystical lyric dancing just about the music of the whales.

    There is much to be learned from the oceans, mysteries still to be uncovered . . . its vastness draws us in. The creatures that inhabit below those waves have always had a profounded effect on me. To see a manta ray with a 16 foot wing span swirling around in a mythical ballet, makes my heart pound with wonderment or to fly across a reef filled with millions of tiny fish and colorful soft corals playing in the current.

    Your painting is beautiful . . . less defined and more of a dream, a place in time, either in the past, present or future that most of us want to be.

    Thank you for sharing your creative talent with us.


  43. df barker · January 11, 2012

    Thank you for all these lovely comments! I am very flattered and grateful to you.


  44. simon7banks · January 12, 2012

    I believe the rhythm of the waves reminds us of the rhythm of our mother’s heart while we are still in the womb. There is research to show born babies react differently to the sound of a steady, gentle heartbeat than to a disturbed one. Beyond that, we came from the sea and perhaps have never forgotten it. This is a recurrent theme in my own poems. I like the way you describe the ambiguity of mist forms.

    I know the Norfolk coast pretty well. Arrivederci Cromer!


  45. df barker · January 12, 2012

    Thank you so much for your comments, they make a lot of sense. Buongiorno Cromer!


  46. Deaddog11 · January 15, 2012

    Beautifull painting, very atmospheric and with a limited palette. Such gentle beauty portayed in words and pictures. You are really “Painting with Light”.
    You capture Cromer exactly right. Thank you


  47. df barker · January 15, 2012

    Thank you, you’re very kind.


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