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Girls at Sea

October 26, 2012

I saw a dolmen in the sea this morning โ€“

glossy obelisk
in the smooth tide.

Girls were surfing in burkas,
riding the long wave
gulf to shore;

some wallowing the shallows
in full black, a splash
of red rippling the September breeze.

Cresting the morning, crystal laughter
haloing daughters,
Ripcurl girls,

It was early, the beach empty and I wondered
how they would drip and flow up the sands,
pooling into Porsches

salt and damp lingering, trickling down their legs.


It’s a pleasure to be linking to the Tuesday night round the world poetry read that is Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub See you there.

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  1. Girls surfing in burqas!! Amazing!
    Love crystal laughter and the last two lines. Perfect, Becky!

  2. This poem really captured my imagination ~ it is just so incredibly feminine, liquid & extremely powerful. Marvellous, Becky ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Great to hear your thoughtes, Peter.. thank you! Of course now the beach has huts (you saw my last inastagram?) so maybe they’ll pool into beach huts… doesn’t have quite the same ring to it somehow… ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for taking time… much appreciated.

  3. crystal laughter
    haloing daughters,
    Ripcurl girls,
    digging….smiles…i love that…

    but what is really cool to me…is you take something most see as oppression and even in it you allow them to find their freedom….and you chastise a bit too those wallowing in the shallows…there is the message of this piece for me…

    • Cheers, Brian… oppression is a relative term isn’t it? It all depends where you’re standing. This piece is all about that conversation, so I’m very happy with what you’re saying.

  4. this is one wonderful vivid and felt capture becky!!

  5. Wicked flow and perfect pitch, thank you very much for the introduction to doleman. I adore your explorations.

  6. Just terrific vivid poem – wonderful intriguing image. k.

  7. Great snapshot of (for me) another culture. And I hope they had fun, burquas and all!

  8. Oooops, this poem I could not follow — must be for a different audience.
    I did laugh at girls surfing in burqas. I enjoyed phrases, but couldn’t feel the poem as a whole. Set on the shores of the Saudi penninsula? Maybe after more years reading poetry ….
    I looked up “dolmen” — great read. Not sure how it fit.
    I also had to look up “ripcurl” and see it is a manufacturer of wetsuits.
    So, do the black wetsuits look like Burqas? Are these rich Saudi kids in their porsches swimming. Are girls allowed to do that.
    Very confused — as you can tell. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Is that your pic? Curious what it is == an enticing photo.

  9. haha.. your comments made me laugh.. it’s feeling a little foreign then?

    I live in Dubai, which is in the UAE, not Saudi. I can understand that a lot of this must seem mysterious and to an extent that’s OK, I don’t think you need to have all the sociological details to piece it together. But in case you’re interested.. this was a family of girls, who were swimming and surfing. They were wearing their normal abayas (sometimes called burqas) – a black, lightweight covering that covers head to toe. The ripcurl girls were toddlers, dressed in western swimming gear. The dolmen was how a single older female figure looked to me as I approached – she was standing in the water, fully clothed and completely still.

    Now that’s either ruined it for you or shed some light…. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hey Becky,
      Thanx for the reply.
      Your explanations helped a lot — far from ruining it.
      How many readers do you think just skip over the stuff they don’t understand and still say, “what a wonderful poem” even when it is many things?

      I wage no one had even a hint of an understanding of the line and stanza == which we now do after your explanation.

      It appears I guessed some of it correct.

      I have have reading Ted Kooser and Dorianne Laux recently. I get what they are writing about. They are kind to me, even when they push the language and images.

      Kooser wrote:

      “I favor poems that keep the obstacles between you and [your audience] to a minimum โ€œ
      –Ted Kooser (The Poetry Home Repair Manual)

      Thanx for the explanation, though. I hope it didn’t ‘ruin’ it for anyone else.

  10. i dont know whats more stunning . . . the poetic point of view contained within this carefully crafted Killbo classic, or the fact that you introduced anna to a word! . . . ๐Ÿ˜€

    Having read this piece many times now, with pleasure, but with my usual overarching fever for image and subtext, today having just fired up a fag (readers from the US may want to turn away now ๐Ÿ™‚ i spent time with it all in absorpstion . . .

    it really is V good you know – in my H O ๐Ÿ™‚

    • ha! Yep, beating Anna to a word wa pretty stunning….

      Thanks Arron, hope you found enough subtext to stoke your fever ๐Ÿ™‚

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