a reading of “No Ticking but the Tide”

No Ticking but the Tide

Come cold October
there’s a wintry feel to the coast.
Where the wind howls hollow through,
slicing pale grasses; and the incessant sea
keeps coming in the repeated strokes of a comb
on a bald head: habitual and pointless.

Gulls echo and bob above the sea, kite-like.

The sand, interred with each succeeding wave,
one wave, rolling in forever and again,
passes the time ticking off endlessness
and in its’ emptiness there is no measuring out of clocks.
No ticking but the tide.

An unpeopled beach is ageless, so I’m told,
and this imaginary headland is beyond time,
but perfect in unsullied nature.

The only time I see this scene
is with eyes shut,
remembering the tide is a Mexican wave
and never moves forward,
only jumping up and down for effect.


24 thoughts on “a reading of “No Ticking but the Tide”

  1. hey man…will stop back in …my bandwidth wont let me get all the way through but only the first 18 seconds…i really like your reading voice though, so will def be back tonight…

  2. So many ways of depicting that endless rolling of the waves on the shore. You made me close my eyes, too – to see the shores of my own past. Loved the final image – the Mexican Wave, jumping up and down only for effect! Perfect.

  3. Oh man- this is so good. Why does the sea hold such fascination for us….I could sit and stare at it for hours …. I absolutely love the reading….just bought another dimension and you do it so naturally- first class…I tried my first reading tonight- felt awkward…you nailed it! That last stanza is so symbolic- holds such weight….great close to a great poem

    • Thanks for what you say about the reading and the poem Stu, the staring and the listening to the sea usually takes up a huge chunk of any holiday time me and Susie have.

    • In Tunisia , earlier this month, and a hotel balcony right on the Med, it was soooo fine to look out to the black horizon with little lights flickering from the odd fishing boat, and listen to the tide lapping the shore. Our favourite holiday place.

  4. “Gulls echo and bob above the sea, kite-like.” … love that. My grandma used to take me to the beach and she would sit on a bench, flying her kite for hours. Tight writing, authentic description, well done.

    • I used to spend long summers as a kid in a hut built by my uncle down on the Ayrshire coast. Rocks and pebbles on the beach and the Irish sea lashing in, loved it dearly.

  5. A little embarrassed to tell you this, but what the hey….have American schoolgirl crush on British accents…loved the reading..and the poem as well. Write on, Brian!

  6. Hi Brian…I’m time traveling. The “Birds” brought me here. Masterful poem. You capture the feeling perfectly. You read so naturally, Brian, it adds much to the telling. Cheers!

    • For yonks, I felt writing to be a pursuit solely meant for paper or the white screen. Carefully placed words to be looked at as much as any painting. I still have that prejudice in me. However , once in a blue moon, and usually if I’ve written in the Glasgow accent I try to record an audio. This was an exception, I’m glad you found it.

      • I’m still navigating between the two…(thus the “swoop and sway” when I start reading what I’ve written aloud). I think it “reads” as somewhat naive but I remain inspired by elements of aural tradition which utilized repetition, internal rhyming, and rhythm. Then there is all this slam poetry which rocks my boat though personally I’m a minimalist and not long winded in expression. And…I can also relate strongly to your analogy of words as a painting on the page. I have yet to bridge the two.
        I haven’t seen you over at Bonnie’s blog. Bonnie, more than most I’ve read here, has her own spin on this particular challenge.
        All said…this is probably why I’m so attracted to this piece Brian. To me, the language in this poem is “bard” worthy.

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