Fern Carr: Three Solitudes
Furious crests surge, billow and pummel the shore,
Spewing spray like a geyser from a whale's blowhole,
Foamy grey waves crash with a deafening roar,
As they ebb and they flow and they pitch and they roll.
Surly leaden clouds surrender muted beams of light,
Revealing a barely discernable pinpoint adrift,
Spied by weary seagulls buffeted by winds in midflight,
It's a fisherman bravely casting a net from his skiff.
Sailboats docked in the marina, bob upon the lake,
Masts rhythmically rising and falling in sync,
Nestled alongside the boardwalk sheltered from the wake,
With only the breakwater separating them from the brink.
Here, the lone fisherman is willing to brave nature's wrath in order to earn his living a solitude of necessity. I purposely emphasized the powerful imagery of the lake in order to magnify his vulnerability. I was very moved by this scene when I took my son fishing in the town of Gimli many years ago.
Neruda on the Beach at Capri
A trembling sun drips
beads of molten gold
onto disc-shaped pebbles
washed smooth by the surf
that ebbs and flows
with the sensual rhythms
sea foam caressing
the feet of a man
adored by all women
romanced by his
red velvet words;
Madre Chile's exile,
he strolls along
the beach at Capri,
surrounded by cliffs
that dwarf him
he is a towering giant.
I wrote this poem after watching the movie "Il Postino" (The Postman) a fictional portrayal of Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda's life in exile. Despite a more reclusive lifestyle, Neruda used his solitude to further his craft, eventually winning the 1971 Nobel Prize in Literature.
The Solitary Fisherman
Tiny beads of sunlight dance upon a rippling river,
Twinkling like stars that have fallen from the sky,
Floating with the current eider ducks bob by
As the solitary fisherman waits for his line to quiver.
He stubbornly resolves to catch a fish at any cost,
Sitting outside all day accompanied by his gear
And the lone gull perched beside him on the pier,
Content to bide their time so opportunity is not lost.
The sun weathers his tired skin as he waits for a bite
While he conjures images of the fish to be caught,
The old man strokes a stubbled chin, his mind deep in thought
Man versus fish locked in Olympian fight.
Suddenly he's startled by a tug on the line,
Leaping to attention he anticipates his prey
The result of patient efforts over the course of the day,
With grim determination he says, "Fish, you are mine."
He grapples with the rod not allowing any slack,
Sinewy muscles flex as he reels his opponent in,
His face reveals a hint of a smile which becomes an ironic grin,
The result of a day's labor a small fish he throws back.
Solitude can be self-imposed. The solitary fisherman is determined to catch a fish despite any personal hardship. His resolve reminds me of Captain Ahab in Melville's "Moby Dick" and Santiago in Hemmingway's "The Old Man and the Sea".
Fern G. Z. Carr was born in Winnipeg and now resides in Kelowna. She is a former lawyer, musician and teacher, and the former director and chair of the Kelowna Branch of the BC SPCA. She is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Although her poetry is primarily written in English, she has composed and translated poems in French, Spanish, Italianand Yiddish. Her most recent translation was just published by The Literary Translators' Association of Canada. Her work has appeared in Canadian Writer's Journal, Art Times: Literary Journal and Resource for the Fine and Performing Arts, Thalia: Studies in Literary Humour, The Art of Music, Writers' Guidelines and News Magazine, Writers' Journal, and Poetry USA, and has been published extensively in the USA, Canada, Italy, Australia, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, India and Finland.