Seascape with Lighthouse

Waves scream gulls, they flutter sand
and scribble chaos in their wake,
snatch stones and rocks in foamy hands,
rampage on cliffs until they break.
Matchstick fishing boats struggle to resist,
their anchors taut against the tide,
but rollers coil and undertow persists,
anchors are dragged and ropes untied.
On the cliffs and on the beach,
crowds have gathered, marbled with fear,
their loved ones are far out of reach;
they cannot see them nor can they hear.
Cliff-bound, outlined on purple shroud,
the lighthouse burns fissures in the clouds
with rays of hope and steadfastness,
charms trawlers home through raging darkness.

Kim M. Russell, 2017

Bell Rock Lighthouse 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851

Joseph Mallord William Turner ‘Bell Rock Lighthouse’ 1819 – image found on

My poem for dVerse poets Pub Poetics: Flexing your verbs

This week I am hosting Poetics and we are focusing on verbs, also known as ‘doing’ or ‘action’ words, – the muscles of poetry. They give a poem motion, power and tone. According to The Poetry School, we should avoid flabby ones, which include clichéd verbs, unnecessary adverbs and the continuous (-ing) form, which makes verbs passive.

We are thinking about using verbs in unexpected contexts, in a similar way to Ted Hughes, in particular in his poem ‘The Hawk in the Rain’.

The challenge is to write a poem, of any length or form, not about an animal or bird, but about a landscape, using verbs in unexpected contexts, doing their job, flexing their muscles, moving poems across chosen landscapes.

37 thoughts on “Seascape with Lighthouse

  1. Kim! This is great! The poem and the sea mos def moves on the page. An excellent example. Thank you for this prompt. Verbing can be a bit of a challenge. Marbled with fear…wonderful description.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this image and they way you’ve described the sea coast here. Most especially the lighthouse burning fissures in the clouds. Several years ago we took a tour of Brewster Island which houses Boston Light — it is the only remaining working lighthouse. The now deceased Senator Ted Kennedy worked within congress, across partisan lines, to establish it as a historical site and insure it will remain a working lighthouse in perpetuity. I was most fascinated with the old photos of former keepers and their families — one keeper’s wife rowed her children across the sea to Hull so they could go to school each day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are some beautiful lighthouses in the States – I’ve seen photographs and they’re stunning. We don’t seem to have so many over here, except of course for our local one, Happisburgh Lighthouse, which is famous for its red and white stripes, the famous one on the Isle of Wight, and one in Scotland that houses a famous restaurant..

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice sound throughout. I liked the phrase “scribble chaos” and how the lighthouse burns through the clouds. It presented as sense of tension that such as scene must have provided to those on shore and in the boat. It’s one of the reasons I prefer the land.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Forceful verbs indeed–your first three lines were rife with perfect illustrations of what you’ve called for in this ingenious prompt; loved it & your poem. I photograph lighthouses wherever I roam; done about a dozen so far. As a metaphor, they are peerless; as architecture they are gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a fantastic opening – those first four lines are so good. The lighthouse comes as something of a relief after all that chaos. The form makes it feel quite classical, even though the verb use is so modern. A (lighthouse!) keeper.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Some really excellent lines in this. I especially like: “scribble chaos” …”marbled with fear”…and “burns with fissures in the clouds”. Those are just a few favorites. I like the hopefulness of the lighthouse, too.

    Liked by 1 person

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