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To quote e e cummings: “…whatever we lose (like a you or a me) it’s always ourselves we find in the sea”

November 10, 2009

One day, a few years ago, I was sharing some of my grown-up poems with a ladies’ group. I explained that I didn’t know the words of all my poems off by heart because I had written hundreds and hundreds.

“How do you know you wrote them?” one woman asked.
“Well, I just do,” I said, “And they’re on my computer disc with the date they were written in a file of all my own work.”
“Yes, but if you don’t remember the words, how do you know you wrote them?” she persisted.
“Well, I suppose I kind-of recognise them. And I can certainly be sure no-one else wrote them. Anyway … here’s one I know I wrote, that I hope you’ll all enjoy,” I hurried on.

I wasn’t sure whether the woman was a philosopher, a psychologist or just an awkward so-an-so, but years later, the question remains with me, and I’ve decided it’s rather a good question.

The reason this occasion comes to mind today is that I’ve just been trawling through the many sea poems that I have on file. I have always loved the sea, but since I’ve lived in sight of it for the past five years, it’s inspired yet more poems. Now, today, I find one that I wrote three years ago, and yet have no memory of having written. I post it below with 100% confidence that I did write it, and that I am the copyright-holder of this arrangement of words. But it is rather exciting finding something you forgot you’d written. You read it with an innocent eye and ear and experience it as if someone else had written it. It spoke to me. It speaks for me. I hope it speaks to you.

WE CRAWLED FROM THE SEA© Celia Warren, 2009

We crawled from the sea
We were safe there
Now it leaves us in awe of its power

We return to the sea
And feel safe there
Though afraid in the very same hour

The sea will collapse all our castles
Will break our arrangements of shells
But the brine will bear our bodily weight
And heal our world-worn souls

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