Sunday, April 3, 2011


Shockwave by Betty Northcutt

CAMBRIAN* --by Eeva-Liisa Manner
A Sequence About The Sea And Creatures 


We are sailing. Already the Hellespont
is shimmering.
The sun is spreading into the sea
like a blood-sacrifice.
Magic and smoky
oracular utterances
receive their due honour, future knowledge.
The polytheistic temples
murmur prayers.
Only the hills, the loins
dream of peace,
not fruit.

The gastropods have united with the stone.
The lazy bodies of crocodiles
are nailed to the rock
by hot jaws and impatient tails.
The greedy throats
catch only swallows, music.
Too late.
Chalk is already flowing in their claws.
They turn to stone.
Prophetic words likewise.

But when night comes,
Poseidon spurs the monsters
and drives them on their journey.
Nothing is dead.
The stone flows,
the atoms are visited by wind and storms.
The reins are freed, and movement, and power.

The nursing bird spreads her wings
and covers crawling souls
sucking mouths and fumbling brains.
The word is in preparation.
mammals multivertebrates
go on procreating with difficulty
embarrassed, pondering what will come.

               * from her work titled This Journey (1956)
                 translated from Finnish by David McDuff and Hildi Hawkins

Note: post title is Japanese meaning "About the sea and living ones"



YogaforCynics said...


Agneta said...

Magiskt vackert och kraftfullt, and just amazing!

Rob-bear said...

Oh, dear. This story just keeps getting worse by the day-hour-minute.

"What fools these mortals be."
~ Lucinius Annaeus Seneca (4 B.C. - 65 A.D.)

Owen said...

Once again, the human race has proved entirely too smart for its own good. God only knows where this is heading. Thoughts of Icarus come to mind, plunging into the sea with his singed wings...

Lydia said...

YogaforCynics~ Been a long time. Great to have you visit.

Agneta~ I translated your Swedish phrase and thank you very much. Your language is beautiful in print and when spoken!

Rob-bear~ Now there is an astute quote for any day-hour-minute...sadly so.

Owen~ I hadn't thought of Icarus but the story fits...sadly so.

Looking to the Stars said...

Good post! my heart aches. Mother Nature is going to make us pay for all of this. Will we ever learn?

susan said...

The poem and the painting are both very beautiful. I have no words (fit to print) about what's going on.

Lydia said...

Looking to the Stars~ No. I do not think that we will. Our hearts ache together.

susan~ Me neither, really. That is why I let a painting and a poem by others say it for me.

Freda said...

The painting and the poem say so much more together than our stumbling words. It all shows up how frail human beings are when we think we can control creation. We await with bated breath in awe of what may happen...... Please God all will be well..

Stickup Artist said...

I have to agree with many of your commenters. The earth is a living organism, the soil its skin. It will fight for its survival if it needs too. And we will not like the solutions she has to her problems. We'd better smarten up, and quick. (Not you "we," but you know what I mean)

Lydia said...

Freda~ Your comments express so beautifully how I feel, how many feel. Thank you.

Stickup Artist~ Yes, I do know what you mean. She is making a point to be different and we will hopefully notice before it's too late. On Wednesday we had three separate 1/2 hour hail thunderstorms here in this part of Oregon. Two inches of pea-sized ice pellets covered the ground. It was amazing. And weird.

Roxana said...

i have come back again to this post, and i am still struggling to find my words... it is one of the most touching and thought-provoking japan-homages i have seen these days...

Lydia said...

Toxana~ Thank you. Such a sorrow and a horror has me at a loss for words also. Bless them all--the dead, the lost, the stoical survivors.



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