The Rocky Shore

Winslow Homer, On a Lee Shore

A stone’s toss
from sea to beach,
where stoic women wait,

beseeching gods of stone-face
for their men’s grace.

Storm-tossed waves, deep-sea graves–

a stone’s toss
to stone-cut hearth, the fire dead.

Uncut threads
tie spirit-treads to stony-shore–
stone-cold hearts still yearn for more.

A quadrille for dVerse, where De asks us to use the word stone. I decided to go with the season.

91 thoughts on “The Rocky Shore

  1. Storm tossed waves provide mental pictures of the season Merril. The sea is a harsh mistress and doesn’t seem to mind the sacrifices the widows have made to her. It is never enough.. So many bones lie in her embrace now yet she remains jealous of those that live.
    Huge Hugs

  2. I love how you’ve managed to incorporate so many uses for the word ‘stone’ here, Merril, from the stone’s toss to the stone-faced gods to the stone-cold hearts of those still yearning. The sea can be cruel at times!

  3. Great atmosphere -the vain hope, the unforgiving sea, the spirits of unfortunate souls. Your tableau is so beautifully expressed.

  4. My immediate thought on seeing the Winslow painting was how small and storm-tossed the schooner looks. When I read the poem, it brought to mind the widow’s walks on old houses in New England seacoast towns. When my mother told me what a widow’s walk was when I was little, it made a big impression. I thought it was for the residents of the house to climb up and have fun. Your quadrille very effectively conveys the agony of the wait for women whose men loved the sea.

  5. Very evocative of the stern realities the sea imposes on those who followed it for a living, and the beauty, terror and consequences for the men and women painted here..

  6. This poem conjures up so much emotion…stormy seas, shipwrecks, those who never return home. It is not a long poem, and yet it creates a vision; we feel the peril of storm-churned waves and ultimate heartbreak.

  7. I love the many uses of the word Stone. It must have been horrid, being a sailor’s wife, back in the day (not that today is much better but the ships are not the same) 🙂

  8. Having just recently returned from Provincetown, your poem calls to mind the more-than-live-sized black and white weathered portraits of several Portugese older women. They’re on the sides of a building next to the wharf and seen by all on the ferries that come in to Provincetown a number of times each day during the tourist season. They are the artist’s tribute to the women who waited for their fishermen husbands. Not only the sea men had it rough with the seas, the wives and family members shivered with each approaching storm, hoping their husbands/fathers returned to them.

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