Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Drift Alone

I drift alone upon a cold grey sea

Without a star to pierce the hanging dark

Or cleave the clouds that gather over me

Or show a mirrored path to guide my bark.

Smooth silks and riches rare are in my hold;

Fine pearls and perfumes fill the chests I bear,

But treasures fall to ashes without hope

Of passage through this wash of cold despair.

Full weight of fortune drags my vessel low,

Slows transit of my ship among the waves,

Means nothing to the creatures far below

Who wait their time to mark my watery grave.

Oh Zephyr, sail me safe through this dark night

And set me on the path to summer light.


  1. Karen
    I love your profile statement AND this wonderful post. I can feel the weight on board while reading.

    I especially like the lines
    But treasures fall to askes without hope
    Of passage through this was of cold despair


  2. That was amazing! Beautiful. Echoes of the romantic poets...

  3. Truly beautiful. It makes me want to take out one of my books of classic poetry and recite it out loud. ♥

  4. Karen this one is so beautiful it makes me wish for a book of your poetry to savor--to read and reread at my leisure.

  5. A Sudden Appearance In Cold Waters

    I take my dolphin
    shape to cut through life's cold wash.
    I am sleek and slick
    with tropic waters,
    with the sunlit spells you cast
    beside the noonday
    shoals of tropic fish
    near the coast I promised you,
    where I keep your hope.

  6. Hi, I've left a blog award for you over on my site. Very beautiful blog.)

  7. I agree with Blue Sugar poet: echoes of the romantic poets - and others. Excellent.

  8. you have done wonders with this, karen :)

    btw - seems you no longer follow me [google fup duck] but i see i still follow you...

  9. Who'd a thunk it? I'm shallow. :-0 I got stuck on the pearls & perfume part..

  10. Linda - Thanks for the nice comments. I'm seeing your comments pop up on several blogs I follow, so I'll be visiting your blog, too.

    bluesugarpoet - Thank you for your words, my friend. As an English major undergrad (were we ALL?), I was immersed in those guys so much that I have a hard time thinking sonnet without their echoes in my mind. Of course, I could do worse than think Byron and Keats!

    Apollinaries Tatoo - Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'll hop over to your place, too.

    Self Proclaimed Mistress - What a nice thing to say! If I've done that, I've done a good thing! I seem to have several new acquaintances here, and it may take a while, but I'll come to your blog, too.

    Jennifer - I have to laugh out loud at this one. I really did just start writing when I started blogging (after Jason's contest). I'd like to think I could produce a book of poems, and my brain is racing, but it will be long years before that could happen. What a nice thing for you to say, though. Thank you.

    Christopher - A poem of hope in answer to a poem of sadness. I love the contrast of the tropical waters and the noonday shoals with the grey, cold, hanging clouds of my poem. Truly, I thought of you when I posted this. I know how you just LOVE rhyming poetry! ;-)

    Selchie - Thank you for reading, and thank you so much for the award! I'll be over soon.

    Dave - I'm so glad you continue to visit and that you like this one.

    laughingwolf - First, thanks. Second, I don't know how that happened, but I'll set it right right away. You know I'm there daily!

    FrankandMary - Hmmm...could we say the ship is stuck in the shallows? That might work. :-)

  11. Sonnet fever has caught on and is burning a bright bonfire! A beautiful sonnet Karen. The ocean setting is gorgeous, and the image suits it well.

  12. I feel, as though, I am adrift on a sea of worthy words and ethereal thoughts. Lovely sonnet my friend!

    "Slows transit of my ship among the waves,

    Means nothing to the creatures far below

    Who wait their time to mark my watery grave."

    Very chilling and macabre - I like it......!

  13. Beautiful, Karen. I did have to read it out loud. The language you use calls for that. Your blog is so inspiring. I will have to wander around and read your older posts.

    Thank you so much for all your comments on my Stones blog. :)

  14. i was so swept up in this i didn't realize it was a sonnet the first time through. it feels classic - timeless - the form, the theme, the richness of language - then "But treasures fall to ashes without hope" really pulled me in.

    as a nautical poem, it is wonderful. but i really love how it revolves around the cargo - what we hold dear, what weighs us down, but what can't truly find its worth unless we can get it into the hands of someone else. for me, that was the "Smooth silks and riches rare" this one carries.

  15. Well done! Brave of you to venture into the tight realm of the sonnet. :) I love the rich language of this, and will have to reread it a few times to take it all in.

  16. I am in continued awe that you just started writing poetry, Karen. It seems as natural to you as breathing. And it's so, so hard to be that effortless in a sonnet.

    I love the awareness here. Life is dear, and yet we know it's short. Which, in turn, can suck on our spirit and drive to make life more treasured. Having can so often be equated with loss within our minds and hearts.

    That despair is deepest and darkest in February, I think. But spring is another dawn. And it's approaching! :)

  17. Fantastic! I'm trying to think of new adjectives to describe your poems. I always say "beautiful" or "excellent." Of course, this one is beautiful and excellent, though, so I end up using those words again:)

    You've done a wonderful job with the sonnet form, too. And so many spectacular lines. I'm taken in at the very beginning with those first four lines. "Cleave the clouds that gather over me" knocks me out of my seat!

    Again, you have deeper levels to the poem, and I love that. It could be a phase in life. But it also describes how I'm feeling on an overcast day in late winter. Beautiful work!

  18. Cat - Thanks. I think you started the sonnet fever!

    K. - I'm glad you like those lines. I can just see those creatures circling, circling... Wonder why we both like that? ;-)

    Faith - Thanks for coming by! I hope some of my friends here will travel over to Stones of Forgiveness, too. There's beautiful work there. Thanks for your kind comments.

    joaquin carvel - I'm thrilled that you got caught up in this and have such kind things to say about your reading of this. Those possessions, fair though they may be, truly can weigh us down sometimes. Thank you for coming here and for your comments. Compliments from a poet such as you are compliments, indeed.

    Rachel - Thanks for coming by. I love the sonnet form -- something about having the structure seems to help me write. I often reread your poems, so it's nice to know that you're returning the favor. ;-)

    Sarah - I love your reading of this. You're so right about the depth of winter despair, and this one has certainly been a long winter, hasn't it? I do long for those warm winds to blow us along. Thanks for commenting.

    Julie - I feel the same way when I start to comment on someone's work. I run out of adjectives and say the same thing time and again. That's okay; I'll take "beautiful" or "excellent" anytime! LOL Seriously, though, I am glad you liked it. I love and respect your work.

  19. This Sonnet is really beautiful, Karen. So full of great imagery and the image you've chosen is also perfect.

    and as always, thank you very much for your visits and I am feeling so much better! :)Thank you!

  20. Karen, Hi!
    Thanks for all the comments -- I was inspired by "Apollinaires Tattoo" blog -- have you been there? And he explained a bit to me about the process he uses to make some of his incredible pieces. I used a graphic program called "gimp" -- you can download for free at
    http://www.gimp.org/-- in gimp you can do all sorts of layers with pictures and words and manipulate things -- it is a little nerve wracking because it is all new to me -- but my 10 year old son is quite the expert!-- and it is fun to experiment with it --
    sorry to be so long-winded -- I would have sent an email, but I don't know your address. you can email me @ luvmywhitedawgs@gmail.com if you have any questions:) Hope you try it! It is very liberating!

  21. You got lost in my dashboard reader, I'm sorry!

    I love this! You take me back to Coleridge's Frost at Midnight with this, but it has shades of Kublai Khan and Ancient Mariner as well, for me.
    "Oh, Zephyr, sail me safe through this dark night." Gives me chills - I adore the romantic poets.


  22. Calli - Thanks for reading and for your nice comments. I'm glad you're feeling better.

    Faith - Thanks for the tips. I will give it a try soon! I appreciate your coming here and leaving the instructions. I should probably put an email address on the blog.

    Kat - To tell the truth, I wondered where you were! ;-)

    I appreciate the Coleridge reference -- I was thinking Mariner as I wrote.

    Thanks for finding me!

  23. Karen - it's tough to keep up sometimes. I've got you in the Blogger Dashboard, but it didn't rise to the top and indicate you had posted (or your stuff got quickly pushed down). I need to put you straight away into the sidebar and will do so now.
    If you saw that post about the Illustrator Le Cain, he apparently did illustrations for Rime of the Ancient Mariner as well. I'd love to see those!
    Have you ever seen the film, "Pandemonium"? It's a British dramatization of Coleridge's and Wordsworth's life. It really plays up the Dorothy Wordsworth experience also and I found it quite interesting (although perhaps the truth is stretched a bit). Still, you may like it.
    Off to set you in the sidebar.


  24. I think Blogger has been doing some strange things lately!

    I'd love to see Le Cain's illustrations for Mariner. I'll look around and see what I can find.

    I have not seen "Pandemonium," but I will check that one, too. I'm a lover of Romanticism who spent a good bit of my youth breathing it! I must get back to my Romantic roots (wings?)!

  25. so beautiful...your words are just so real, touching.

  26. Noelle - Thank you for stopping by and reading. I'm glad you felt touched by it. It's been a long winter here (in more ways than one)!

  27. Beautiful, Karen, so beautiful... Put the sea in it, even as an allegory, and my heart will melt with pleasure...

  28. Vesper - I'm glad you found this one, and I'm glad it touched you.