Saline Song

Who sings in the deepest water in the abandoned lagoon?*

Whose song springs from gravel graves beneath where the sand shoal looms?

Whose tune pitches and pains through the octaves of sea-worn remains?

Whose melody echoes and courses across time-spent sand grains?


This baseless lament rises from the water herself,

A plaintiff cry, a stone-sharp intake of breath,

She mourns for the memories of a time she was freed,

A Consort resplendent and clothed in moss weed.


She pines for the mangroves that once lined her shores,

The sea grass that waved as her glory roared,

Of the red throat and velvet that flashed in their fall,

As she turns she recalls the black terns that called.


She grieves for neon flashes that once filled her reef,

Brief movements inside her, the life she conceived,

Schools of silver-streaked bream and tilapia dreams,

Living jewels that adorned her in regency green.


TIL the suffocating death of the oestrogen tide swept in,

Reaping her effulgent belly and oiling her lapis-skin,

Dressed in ragged robes of plastic that drowned every and each breath,

And danced it’s slow and twisted tango to the knell of her death.


So, desolate and alone she sings still her saline-song,

With no-one to witness nor hear, but the carrion call

Of the visitor pausing to pick through waste for a bone,

Bereft and abandoned, our lagoon is alone.

“Brief: This weeks DVerse Tuesday Poetics Prompt hosted by Laura was to answer a question from one of Pablo Neruda’s “Book of Questions” I chose the line that started this verse *‘Who sings in the deepest water in the abandoned lagoon?’

“Insight; The prompt made me wonder why a lagoon would be abandoned and by whom? As a wild swimmer, I swim in our rivers, lakes and seas, I see more plastic and less life, more decompose and less compose, so the ‘saline song’ is the sadness of our seas whose life is lost to all that human-unkindness brings. 

27 thoughts on “Saline Song

  1. You have excelled yourself with this – I like how you begin with some more questions after Neruda and then carry all the emotions of mourning for what once was through the waters – especially love the second verse and this line struck
    “Schools of silver-streaked bream and tilapia dreams,”

    thank you for joining in – Neruda’s question struck the right chord for a wild water swimmer

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the use of sibilance to emphasise the sadness of the saline song, Catherine-Jayne, and the barrage of questions in the opening stanza, with some wonderful alliteration: ‘gravel graves’ and ‘pitches and pains’. I also love the personification of the lagoon, and the way that she pines for the mangroves, sea grass and birds, and grieves for the fish. I wanted to save her from the ‘suffocating death of the oestrogen tide’ and those ‘ragged robes of plastic’.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I like your first stanza of meticulously crafted questions to match the original. The aching grief dear lagoon cries with is painful to read as it is a reflection of realilty that we face as humans that are killing our Mother Gaia.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Glenn A. Buttkus

    Tons of plastic refuse per nautical mile, man has given the ocean a respiratory disease. I liked the several questions you posed. I did the same, but then fell in love with the inquiring

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Rob Kistner

    I really liked your image of the lagoon itself being the source of a sad song. Very touching, and very well written. I had considered address this question, but I couldn’t get the 50’s B-movie image of the creature from the black lagoon out of my mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Gorgeous poem even in its horror, the long lines tidal and packed with lovely & ruinous sea-finery. She is a noble queen of nothing, a deva of shores whose augment was throttled by waste-plastics. So sad & alone for our wanton disregard. Thanks for rubbing her salt in our wound with such care & craft.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is what I get for being so late in posting – how do I say anything fresh and useful in response to this poem? I shall have to fall back on gratitude for writing about this intensely painful grievous subject with such delicate beauty and precision we are able to read it and not look away. Thank you, I hope this finds a huge audience – I would love to post it on my facebook page if you give permission.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Christine thank you kindly for your genuine and supportive comments, I really appreciate it. Please feel free to share and let me have the post once you have 🙂 I’m on Facebook by my full married name Catherine Thomas-Humphreys please feel free to find me x


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