Poem ‘Bede’


It wasn’t at Jarrow where I sensed you
but on Bamburgh’s raging shore,
among the seaweed and razor shells
on gull peppered sands,
its castle brooding behind me
like a huge chiseled tomb.

North waves were scrambling,
spilling memories of guttural voices
disguised in flushing sound;
cries of songs, harps and old tales lost,
fragments I could almost hear
when I turned my head into the wind.

And who was the black figure
bent against the breeze,
absorbing sharp light
on that blinding beach?
I struggled through the dunes,
the little islands of sparse grass
and pygmy flowers —
but you were gone,
extant only in memory,
my boundless imagination,
and in your books
which carry me through centuries
on a primal wave,
each time I read your words

Poem and image © copyright df barker 2012

16 thoughts on “Poem ‘Bede’

  1. I have missed reading your poetry and seeing your paintings during the time I had to take a break. I’m slowly catching up with modest visits here and there …

    In reading this poem, I felt cool damp breezes, tasted salt my lips, felt the absence of someone cherished, the brush of the grasses on my calves, and the moody meditation of someone walking the beach alone with her thoughts …

    The brooding castle adds so much …

    Nicely done and so enjoyed. Thank you.



  2. David, I’m almost there, with your wonderful descriptive imagery. (In fact, this feels like the place where some of my poems and visions have come from – though I’ve never been there in this lifetime.) Thank you for the experience of this poem!


  3. Hi David, this poem has some mystery (it wasn’t at Jarrow when I sensed you) that tickles the imagination right from the start, I like it very much, both poem and painting! 🙂


  4. Hi. This is my favorite poem of all you have posted. I have read the ‘Venerable Bede’ and I think this poem evokes all those people who have stood behind us, building the text of what we know and believe. I like the soft ‘seaweed’, and the hard ‘razor’, ‘peppered’, and ‘chiseled’ used close together. I also like the figure ‘absorbing sharp light’. Very memorable. Jane


  5. Hi. I forgot to mention the painting. It also has a thoughtful, historical air about it… I think it has to do with the big sky, the bird flying high and the ‘v’ made by the waves and clouds. Jane


  6. I can’t tell you how blown away I was by this piece! loved the connection that your words allowed me to forge between dreams and reality. “Shifting sands” indeed, as your painting further suggests! You’ve given us another beautifully expressed poem David, well done!


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