Tag Archives: morecambe bay

Poems

The Census of Seamounts

Everything is falling
silent
in a deep history
where plains are noduled with shipwrecks,
upended submarines
and skeletons.

Canisters, chains, tanks and bullets falling
at the same speed the sea falls from the sky

to a bed lined with silver, gold, nickel
visible only in someone’s dream.

Another dreamer swims through a rerun
of themselves discovering
a sunken truth in Planet of the Apes.

Elsewhere a hermit crab
takes an aspirin bottle for its shell.

Not newborn, not dead, there’s life unaware
of the wind above pressing these currents

this way, that, they fall
a slow synthesis into dark, sucked closer to the vents
where heat crushes
the last flecks of sun from memory.

featured in Sea-Creatures


If You were Walney Lighthouse and I Cockersands

At dusk we break open the loneliness of night,
hold steady on each muddied tide
and fix ourselves; keepers of light.

The gulls and boats of dawn blot you from sight:
you’re far further than the Bay’s northside.
But at dusk we break open the loneliness of night.

All I do, you reflect back at me, at times too bright;
a warning sign, you stand a quiet guide,
fix me, keep my light.

My wood, your stone; as such, we’re unalike,
cut by this channel that keeps us tied.
At dusk we break open the loneliness of night.

Closer when water’s at its height,
a flooding shoal of silt as shores collide
we fix ourselves; keeping our lights.

Throughout the long dark, we transit white,
our worlds made one: two-eyed
at dusk we break open the loneliness of night
and fix ourselves; keepers of light.

Published in The Rialto


Hold Fast

In readiness for the rising seas
he roped all his fears into one final tattoo, a bicep piece
of lightning forks astride a girl whose flesh he’ll never touch,
a dagger through the blossoming rose of Lancashire
a compass with no marked cardinals.

His skin disappeared in the blur of rain,
low wind. The propellers on his back,
the shoulder scrolls of lovers and family,
protected him from anonymity.

Shrinking as the Atlantic swelled, he couldn’t resist
and ink-anchored both feet,
insured the buoyancy of his left knee with a pig,
a rooster on his right.

Then hung another coil
on the LoveLoveLove necklace about his throat.

Published in issue 32 of the Ofi Press

 

Hammock

swings
the outdoors in
——– oceans dry
—- latitude a spine
———- shoulders to wings
—–tomorrow today
———– an open shroud
cumulus low
that pause before

published as part of the Burns Night Celebrations in Dumfries, Windaes Project, 2012

 

Migration

Compressed between chalky light and sea,
the lowest island is glacial but
for the dimple of footprints.

—- Elsewhere bladderwrack redefines a land drifting east.
—- Children’s eyes wink from the shale.

The channel cutting that and a third
slips so slowly
granite is doubled, reflected block cut below block.
A library of stones, lettered in algae.

—- A shoreline of limestone pleats.
—- Here, birds are white,
—- and skin flakes like ash from a volcano.

Two miles south, and chimneys unbrick gradually.
Clay exposed where potatoes once grew.
At low tide fossils swim another cove.

A different, although equally treeless, skyline churns,
lumpy as the bedbound, facing dawn.

Across the thinnest sound,
slowly widening,
a kelp causeway foams,
knitted by eddies and fish into empty Sunday suits.

The long dead, buried under firs on a windward shore,
wrapped in oilcloth, reel with landslides,
dipping closer to each tide.

Published in Poetry Wales 2013

 

Lost, with all hands

Winched pewter and perry at Archangel,
hauled flax and hemp onboard,
weighed anchor, hoisted sails (crew);
tilted sextant over Hammerfest (Captain);
pumped bilges, hitched rigging, oiled mast,
tarred the hull, grasped at whisky (crew);
plucked poultry, cut cheese (cabin boy);
stroked thighs, sealed lips, clenched at floggings (crew);
gripped helm, plotted past Shetland (mate);
scrubbed on deck (crew), filthed (Capn’s wife);
snatched at sheets, slackened sails (crew);
dropped the lead (mate), prayed for once (crew);
jabbed at Seldom Seen (all),
shifted cargo (crew), clung to rigging (wife and kids),
tore at railings (crew), slung the whisky (Captain),
combed the tide, kneaded mud (all).

Published in Under the Radar, 2014

 

 

 

 

Publications

Wave Motion
An extended concertina of card and paper, with an expanding spine. £10 (&p+p).

Two companion sonnets on the purpose and beauty of waves, making distinct yet comparable the organic ocean and the inorganic plastic within it.

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A Dock is not a Solid Thing
A Jacob’s ladder format of blue / white two tone card, ribbon and a steel fastener. £10 (&p+p). Limited edition of thirty.

Seven poems on docks, boatbuilding, maritime trade and lighthouses. The binding, a delicate and ingenious design, conveys the movement of water and precarious nature of maritime industries.

“I do especially appreciate it when a pamphlet comes along where the form reflects the content, where the theme is tightly bound, when everything from top to bottom has been considered when being crafted.” Read more of Claire Trévien’s review here

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There is no Night
(illustrated card, tracing paper sleeve cover with silver birch bark detail. Handstitched binding.) Reindeer image by Justus Raatikainen.
£5 each (+80p p&p).

there is no night

Set in a Finnish summer ‘There is no Night’ is a modern day fable on love and the troll within us all, while tracing the shifting borders of relationships and water. How do we love another and simultaneously ourselves?

This tender, lightly melancholic long poem plays with union and independence, absence and presence, turning ultimately hopeful.
Read more here
If you want one sending as a gift, please add  any personal message to your paypal instructions and the giftee’s (is that a word?) address.

Reader feedback: “Thank you for this. I’ve read it twice now but it feels like the kind of poem that will grow with every reading. I love the ‘vessel’ you have made for it – so clever. As you said on your blog – in the end it asks for simplicity – but that’s quite hard to achieve.

“As for the poem, I’m finding it hard to start spilling words about it, but I love the way it makes me feel – quiet and still, in the presence of mystery, sad and hopeful. It’s beautiful.” 



In Good Weather the Sign Outside reads Danger Quicksand (art-booklet: letterpress cover, transparent photographic end-papers, card, recycled rubber band binding, 2014) Limited edition of 48.    £8 + p&p Also available from the Bookartbookshop N1 6HB In Good Weather 1

A sequence of four prose poems expose a relationship between storm surges and domesticity. Multiple time frames hide and appear within the folded card sections, playing with how past, present and imagination co-exist.

Semi-opaque end-papers add to the layering of the pieces. This is a playful puzzle and beautiful handmade design.

“The writing impresses too. Whether lyric tetralogy, or four ‘flash chapters’, this account of a relationship weathering threat adroitly meshes natural, medical, and meta-fictional imagery, and anchors its wealth of detail with a taut yet understated line to the heart. The narrative arc is clear, yet travels far, the prose glistens with precise, musical phrase…”  Naomi Foyle. Read the rest of the review here.

“Wonderful. Quite wonderful. In every way. Thank you.” TL, a reader

“The writing is, for the most part, tight, limpid and almost matter-of-fact. There are moments of acute visual perception, as when the sea water beating against the window means the ‘glass isn’t to look through any more, but to look at’…A pleasure to read in every sense.” Billy Mills on Elliptical Movements


Sea-Creatures(poetry art-booklet: chart section end-papers, illustrated pastel paper, waxed linen hand-stitched binding. 2013) £6.00 + p&p handmade poetry art-bookletA collection of encounters with sea-creatures of the air, water and a sailor’s imagination. These poems are fresh, simple and joyful descriptions of the sea’s ecology and the reactions provoked by it. Charts illustrate the richly textured paper, adding to the experience of the reader as seafarer.
“This small hand-stitched rectangular pamphlet is a delightful blending of design and poetry, which work together perfectly…” Angela Topping in Sabotage
“Sarah makes these beautiful creations in which the form of publication and poems intertwine to make a whole. Sea-creatures features maps and torn pages that echo the tide, Lune streams like the river it’s named for across the page. Both publications are full of salt and water; there are mussels, brittle stars, selkies, seabirds, and a multitude of ‘fragments of one world…washed up by another’. ” Claire Dean, Gathering Scraps



Please be patient. Orders can take up to a week to ‘process’

Lune (concertina pamphlet, 2012) £2.00 (&p+p) Runner Up for Best Pamphlet in the Saboteur Awards 2013

handmade poetry art-bookletA long poem set at the mouth of the Lune estuary, rich in imagery and allusion, place and atmosphere. It examines the relationship between land and sea and sea and man, in layers that connect and distance. Subtle, delicate, confident. You can read an excerpt here

“Lune: a leash for a hawk; fits of lunacy; a crescent formed by the overlapping of two circles; a crescent moon; a river whose tidal estuary is at Plover Scar, Lancashire; a poem in five sections printed as a neat concertina pamphlet; subject of these reviews:

 “Lune appears as a whisper. Beautifully and carefully intimate. And once you have fallen into it, it starts to tell you secrets. It is the kind of poem you could fall in love with…” is only the beginning, in Annexe Magazine

Lune is a rich addition to this contemporary pastoral tradition: part narrative, part evocation of land- and sea-scape, part metaphysical meditation on what the world is and what it is to be in that world. The title in the first instance derives from the river, but the other definitions of lune that I referred to in the opening paragraph of this review all seemed to me to come to bear on the poem as I read it.” Billy Mills in Sabotage

Lune is featured in The Guardian Books Blog as an excellent example of its form.




Host (Waterloo, 2010) £11 inc p+p

poetry

“The voices, the stories, the detail and the imagery are powerful, superbly-crafted and original.” Bernardine Evaristo

“The poetry is earthy and takes a no-nonsense approach to setting out their journey from community-based god-fearing and pious, through to the complexity, toughness and verging on faithlessness, of modernity.” Anne Stewart in Artemis

“… excellent at capturing social and religious codes of behaviour, with the acuity of Austen or Alice Munro … Host is a tactile and muscular collection, rooted in the complexities and textures of the physical world. Hymas has created fresh and exuberant work that, at its best, captures the awe of being alive. Sarah Westcott

Waterloo Press have a few copies left… I think

 To buy or review any of the books, either use paypal or contact me on sehymas [at] gmail [dot] com



About & Contact

superwomansmall

When I was working in HMP Lancaster Castle an inmate shared his experience of being a dad inside, how much he missed his son and what he wanted to pass on to him. He said “All I’ve got to give him is my word”.

I believe, ultimately, all any of us have is our word. What we say defines us alongside what we do.

My dad used to say “Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never harm you.”

I love my dad, but I don’t agree. I think the thoughts and beliefs
contained in words do have power. As well as harm, they can heal, inspire, challenge and illuminate.

I like what Martin Heidegger said: “Language is the house of our
Being”. What he meant by ‘Being’ was, I’m told, the ground of our
existence.

How words root us is what guides me as a poet and celebrant. I am passionate about communication – clear, careful communication – that connects us, enables us to share experience, ideas and emotion.

I am glad to be working with such delicate, strong tools as words. I aim to highlight the wonder and limitlessness of words in poems, stories and song in all aspects of my work: writing, ceremony, coaching …

Based on Morecambe Bay in Lancashire, England, other elements I love in life are the sea and sky. I believe we are shaped by where we live. At the moment, I’m being whittled to a windblown thing.

On a more practical level, my CV can be viewed here.

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