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

54 thoughts on “Poem ‘Mare Incognito’ (for J)

  1. 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. 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. Hi,
    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.


  4. 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.



  5. 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..


  6. 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!


  7. 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…


  8. 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.”


  9. 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!


  10. 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 😀


  11. 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!


  12. 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…


  13. 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.



  14. 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!


  15. 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.


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