Poem ‘Mare Incognito’ (for J)

Mare Incognito (for J)

Somewhere between
Southwold and Saltfleet,
that’s all I’m prepared to say.

Where eastern seaboards
lose out each year,
glacial moraines fall away

with no answer to tides
that even kings couldn’t resist.
England crumbling in eye and mind.

Now that could be a clue
but they’re not too high,

though high enough to sit on
and savour the grey seas,
the view, such as it is.

Does it matter?
Fine days won’t do, not to this mind.
Sea mists, fogs, or battleship skies

which leave enough to be imagined,
whose easterlies cut me into me
whatever I wear—they’re best—

when the only way to keep warm
is to keep moving, jogging
below the sleek aerobatics of herring-

and black-backed gulls,
super-marine harbingers of storm
doing their best to bring life to

Mitchell’s drawings of seaplanes—
and the spitfire.
Such an elegance in death.

But I’m here to forget about war,
about politics which can only
divide and kill.

Grey days mean I’m alone
in a moody make-believe.
I turn my back on all that was,

think about what might be,
where nightmares a few miles away,
that lost world within my right hand,

might just be gone when I return
or answer the bleep which says
I’m connected, branded for life.

Leave me now.
For a little while longer
let me say I’m free

image and poem © copyright df barker 2012



  1. Jared · February 26, 2012

    So phenomenal, David. I absolutely love it! My favorite part is – “glacial moraines fall away, with no answer to tides, that even kings couldn’t resist. England crumbling in eye and mind.” Amazing : D


  2. horizonlineart · February 26, 2012

    I love how you paint as if the viewer is looking into a dream space. It allows us to connect some of our own dots in your art. truly wonderful.


  3. Betty Hayes Albright · February 26, 2012

    Rich with powerful imagery and melancholy memories – in the sea, the cliffs, the cold. I need to come back and read this again – so many layers!


  4. dfb · February 26, 2012

    Jared, I thank you so much. Glad you like it, I enjoyed writing it with a ‘mission’ in mind!


  5. dfb · February 26, 2012

    Tim – I thank you so much!


  6. dfb · February 26, 2012

    Betty, I thank you so much – your comments have come to mean a lot.


  7. magsx2 · February 26, 2012

    Very nice. I really like the last part of the poem,
    “Leave me now for a little while longer let me say I’m free”
    I thought that finished off the poem nicely.
    Very nice painting as well.


  8. dfb · February 26, 2012

    Thank you so much, I appreciate it!


  9. Francina · February 26, 2012

    beautiful painting, and a very fine written poem . Sad, melancholic lines but also a subtle touch of relief . A poem with many layers which deserves a read more than once. I do like the images your created in my reader’s mind.



  10. dfb · February 26, 2012

    Francina, thank you so much!


  11. claudia · February 26, 2012

    dang..nice mixture of sea air, politics, loneliness, pain, longing for freedom and deep emotions..the sea can reach right into the middle of our soul..


  12. dontchawannadream · February 26, 2012

    I’m so in love with your art!!!


  13. dfb · February 26, 2012

    Claudia, thank you very much, once more!


  14. dfb · February 26, 2012

    You are very kind, thank you!


  15. When we think about life, where we might be or not going, what direction to take, we always take refuge in what we love to do, during the moments of sweet quiet time where we rejuvenate our hearts and spirits! I love the poem as it is very relative to me! Thanks for sharing!


  16. dfb · February 26, 2012

    Thank you so much, Wendell!


  17. Jumping in Mud Puddles · February 26, 2012

    Wow, you are so talented! Love both the poem and the painting. 🙂


  18. dfb · February 26, 2012

    Thank you so much, I’m grateful!


  19. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words · February 26, 2012

    standing on the tides
    free of this mundane moment
    in the realm where all the impossiblities are possible
    as we learn to see the perfection in the imperfection others will see

    I think I always see something different from others..
    but then we all have to listen to the heartbeat of the earth we stand on
    or the water we glide on…

    This is really hearfelt beautiful dfb….

    Take care…


  20. dfb · February 26, 2012

    Thank you so much, once again!


  21. Millie Ho · February 26, 2012

    Reads just like a painting. Very rich!


  22. dfb · February 26, 2012

    Thank you so much, Millie!


  23. rangewriter · February 26, 2012

    I emailed this poem to a member of my writer’s group who is a fine poet in his own right. I had been demonstrating WordPress to him and shown him your site a couple of days ago. His response to this poem follows:
    “DF Barker is one deep and learned poet-artist and observer of, and participant in, the world of the seen and unseen. From the little I’ve read and seen so far, it seems he pulls back the veils that usually hide the unknown “other side” of things. Wonderful and thank you for introducing him to me.”


  24. dfb · February 26, 2012

    Thank you!!! Well, what can I say? I am so grateful that you told your friend in the writers’ group and I am so flattered by his comments. You know, although I’ve been writing (and painting) on and off for years, I still feel like a beginner. Perhaps I always will. Either way, thank you so much!


  25. jmmcdowell · February 26, 2012

    Your combination of art and words is lovely. I really enjoy your posts.


  26. Raven of Leyla · February 26, 2012

    I love those kind of days, I miss living near the sea. Getting away from war, politics and everyday drama is such a pleasure…I like the fog and rainy days too.
    Your painting is perfect to feel this day 😀


  27. dfb · February 27, 2012

    Thank you so much!!!


  28. dfb · February 27, 2012

    Thank you so much! You are so kind, Raven.


  29. granbee · February 27, 2012

    dfb, Such a windswept, chilling, yet majestic place to be “free” of those worldy worries just a little bit longer, eh? Wonderfully successful job of painting these seaside images and emotions!


  30. dfb · February 27, 2012

    Granbee, once more I am indebted to you for your kindness. Thank you so much!


  31. Ethan Greenwood · February 28, 2012

    Every word in this feels perfectly placed. Beautiful.


  32. dfb · February 28, 2012

    Thank you very much!


  33. Ken W. Simpson · February 28, 2012

    Great watercolours


  34. lscotthoughts · February 29, 2012

    David, your poem and painting are lovely, as they always are~

    “Grey days mean I’m alone
    in a moody make-believe.
    I turn my back on all that was,”

    I think I’ve said before that you have a way of drawing the readers into your scene, as though it’s real and we’re alive in the moment. What a talent you have…


  35. wordpolaroids · February 29, 2012

    A wise man told me once: be free, do whatever you have to do where ever you are.


  36. dfb · February 29, 2012

    Lauren, you are so kind! Thank you so very much.


  37. dfb · February 29, 2012

    I’m thankful for your comment!


  38. dfb · February 29, 2012

    Mn. So true, and thank you!


  39. Janet · February 29, 2012

    Very beautiful poem, I’m glad I found your blog. My favourite echos an earlier comment : with no answer to tides
    that even kings couldn’t resist.
    England crumbling in eye and mind.



  40. dfb · February 29, 2012

    Janet, thank you so much!


  41. bardessdmdenton · February 29, 2012

    All my senses were engaged with this piece, and my heart and conscience. It is a scene that lyrically reaches out from its immediacy and specific location (‘somehere between… Southwold and Saltfleet) to the embrace the reader in its misty, rather turbulent and solitary mood.

    I love the title and your art is beautiful as always!


  42. dfb · February 29, 2012

    What can I say? Except that I am so grateful to you, thank you!


  43. mariajulianne · March 1, 2012

    Reblogged this on Maria Julianne and commented:
    I too am a big fan of literature and poetry. Thumbs up to this artistic poem.


  44. dfb · March 1, 2012

    Thank you Maria! Very kind of you and I am grateful.


  45. Eclipse · March 2, 2012

    …A stunning poem and an amazing painting David…
    I really hope you don’t mind this little theft 🙂 : http://eclipseofthemoon.wordpress.com/selected-poetry/the-beauty-of-the-nature/
    Wishing you a wonderful weekend


  46. dfb · March 2, 2012

    Eclipse, I am honoured that you have chosen it! Thank you, my very best wishes!


  47. Broken Sparkles · March 6, 2012

    I think this is my favorite from all I’ve read from you! It made me think about one of my favorite melodies …


  48. dfb · March 6, 2012

    Thank you!! This is astonishing, the music and the video, never seen it before. Utterly beautiful. Thank you so much for showing it. I’m very grateful for your comments.


  49. Ina · March 11, 2012

    Lovely 🙂


  50. Living out of Eden · March 18, 2012

    “Mitchell’s drawings of seaplanes—
    and the spitfire.
    Such an elegance in death.”
    Excellent contrast! I too have that mixed feeling.


  51. dfb · March 18, 2012

    I thank you for your comment! 🙂


  52. Heather Whitley Gibson · March 19, 2012

    I left a plus public comment.
    this is getting more convincing than ever


  53. Strings 'n Things · March 21, 2012

    Beautiful imagery; the poem matches so well the “misty” quality of the paintings.


  54. dfb · March 22, 2012

    Thank you very much!!!


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