– 7/10/19

      Hosted by Kath Abela Wilson

      It was the steps to the sea that counted. I heard them from afar, lured by the deep. One after another they named themselves with a loud voice. The same voice that called me, as child, to look through a peephole in the ferry floor, into a dark mysterious world of overlapping language, intense and emphatic.

      to this day
      tracing characters
      carved in stone
      calligraphy of the sea
      etched on my heart

      You will not be here forever, said the sea. Every step counts.

      ~ Kath Abela

      Ο Ο Ο

      painting of steps and old houses

      300 Steps Bellagio, Italy. Watercolor painting by Ron Libbrecht


      if you read my poems,
      you will think you know me,
      but all you will really know
      is the sea

      300 steps—
      a long tumble
      to the sea
      from which my heart
      will never recover

      the cliff tops
      tinged by dawn,
      boats still
      anchored in
      the chilly harbor

      Ο Ο Ο

      A sailboat in the distance with sunset and land in shadow

      The Sea, Croatia (Photo – Tomislav Maretic)

      Tomislav Maretic

      moonless night —
      the lamplight fishing boats
      on the open sea
      spreading darkness

      on the shore:
      the high tide,
      a big sigh
      of the sea

      calm sea
      I swim noiselessly
      to the cove
      where a nigtingale
      sings in the bush

      Ο Ο Ο

      steps leading to the sea

      Dubrovnik 2016 (Photo – Brendon Kent)

      Dianne Moritz

      hidden enclave
      where sea meets shore
      as tides ebb and flow
      otters frolic
      cool sea mist on our skin

      Ο Ο Ο

      a blue cove with a green hill and ducks swimming

      Steps to the Sea (Photo – Tomislav Maretic)

      Charles Harmon

      wind on the water
      still reminds me of her voice
      sounds of the ocean
      her sea song
      played upon a shell

      prettiest seashells
      are found far from the shore
      deep underwater
      well beyond reach
      daring a dive

      captain taught me
      to see past the horizon
      beyond the blue
      around the world
      with a weather eye

      Ο Ο Ο

      A sailboat in the ocean with a haiga written on it

      Photo and one-line poem by Brendon Kent

      Brendon Kent

      steep steps down…
      castle walls crumbling
      into swifts


      sea moon…
      a wave breaking
      a sigh


      where the sea ends
      somewhere else


      his ashes releasing herself


      a big tall ship is seen in the distance

      Queen Mary (Photo – Charles Harmon)

      Steps to the Sea: Quotes and Credits

      M. Kei‘s first poem here, a ryuka, is a song-like poetry form from Okinawa that is similar to tanka, but written on four lines with three lines of equal length and the last one shorter. He says: “I don’t usually write ryuka; it just turned out that way. Let the poem be what it wants to be. As a tall ship sailor, I often write while at sea. Being a sailor and being a tanka poet are alike: you must pay attention to details, do your best, then let go and let it be whatever it will be. You can’t force either the sea or poetry to do as you command.” Kei is an award-winning poet who lives on Maryland’s Eastern shore. He’s the editor of Atlas Poetica: A Journal of World Tanka, and Stacking Stones, An Anthology of Short Tanka Sequences (Sept 2018). His most recent collection of poetry is January, A Tanka Diary. He is also the author of the award-winning gay Age of Sail adventure novels, Pirates of the Narrow Seas.

      Tomislav Maretic lives by the sea near Zagreb, Croatia. He says: “The sea provokes thoughts. Someone said ‘the sea is soulless and so imaginative’, but it’s so imaginative that it’s hard to think it is without soul, especially at night, when you look at the starry sky with the noise of the wave. Thoughts emerge by themselves and rise…you can feel oneness of the Space.” Maretić is a physician, a specialist for infectious diseases and he was working almost 40 years in University Hospital for Infectious Diseases in Zagreb. He lives in a little place near Zagreb City (Gornje Vrapče) with his framily (wife and four children). Retired, he still works part-time in Čakovec – a little city in the north of Croatia. He has been writing haiku for forty years. His haiku have received several awards and prizes and were published in several journal and magazines, online and in print.

      Dianne Moritz bought a house overlooking ocean in Moss Beach, CA, several miles down Highway 1 from San Francisco. On weekends, I’d fly up from LA to visit and, together, we’d explore that magical place of sun, sea, and dusty back roads. Paul often cooked his native Dutch dishes for me as we watched the sunset over the Pacific…toasting our friendship and good fortune. Dianne is a former Los Angeles K- 3 teacher. She now lives in Southampton, NY where she writes poetry and picture books for children. Her book, Hey Little Beachcomber, is to be released in paperback sometime in 2019.

      Charles Harmon, a science teacher, lives and works in Los Angeles. He joins Poets on Site often in Pasadena for meetings in the Storrier Stearns garden and our Living Room Gallery. He enjoys cooking for his wife and three children. He has published his haiku. senryu and tanka in many online and print journals including Atlas Poetica and The Haiku Foundation online dialogue series. He says: “Born in Kansas surrounded by amber waves of grain, we soon moved out to California, where I grew up near the ocean and also spent time in the mountains with lakes and rivers. I have spent much time overseas and have enjoyed many great oceans and rivers. Water may be the original home of life, and is certainly necessary for survival. For food, transportation, and recreation the world’s oceans and waterways are important for all life and must be preserved. There is certainly a spiritual aspect here also, that inspires a profound awe and respect for the mysteries of the universe and creation, that motivates artists to describe and scientists to explain. I love being out on the water on boats and ships, and have been lucky enough to help protect and serve as a lifeguard and an Auxiliarist on rescue boat safety patrols. Just this 4th of July after the fireworks show near the Queen Mary in Long Beach we helped save seven boaters who had fallen into the cold water when their small boat capsized. It is an honor to help others, and poetry helps express how I feel about nature and life.”

      Brendon Kent lives in the small countryside village of Botley (circa 890AD) within Southampton, England. He has been writing short form poetry for many years and is published in most leading journals worldwide. Brendon is a member of the British Haiku Society, the World Haiku Association and he’s the Head Teacher online for international haiku at Haiku University (Tokyo). He has recently released a collection of haiku, senryu, tanka titled ‘moon on water’ by Alba Publishing June 2018. His poem “steep steps down ” appeared in Blithe Spirit, Journal of the British Haiku Association.


      We welcome and encourage your response, especially in the form of a short poem, by leaving a comment below.

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        • Kathabela Wilson

          Kathabela Wilson is a local poet/writer/artist and musician. Her Poets Salon has become an international respected must read in the poetry world. She's the creator and host of the Pasadena-based group, “Poets on Site.”

          Colorado Boulevard is your place for enlightening events, informative news and social living for the greater Pasadena area.
          We strive to inform, educate, and work together to make a better world for all of us, locally and globally.

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      1. Autumn Noelle Hall says:

        born by the beach
        something of the sea
        a reminder
        of the 3 days+33 years
        it took to escape mom’s womb

        ~Autumn Noelle Hall

      2. When on the water
        in San Francisco Bay
        I made photos
        of full blown sails
        with my hand
        dragging in the water.

        When the pictures
        came back
        with a slanted horizon
        I felt lucky I hadn’t
        finished the Vodka bottle
        in my lap.

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