I picked my way across green rocks,
down to the dead-low waters,
over the sliding limpet trails,
to meet the brown-haired daughters.

In the slackened tide they waved
and stooped and bowed to me,
and golden shouldered stood in crowds,
waist deep in a slopping sea.

In an hour the Moon returned –
towing the flow astern,
and the last I saw was tangled heads
as the sea began to churn.


About Harry Nicholson

I'm an enameller who works with a kiln, fusing pictures in glass onto copper. I write a few poems and short stories. There is an eBook anthology of them, 'Green Linnet' on Amazon. Also a novel, 'Tom Fleck', set in the North of England of 1513 - the year of Flodden. A sequel to 'Tom Fleck' is 'The Black Caravel' published in 2016. My anthology of poems came out in 2015: 'Wandering About.' I've a blog of poems, stories and art at:
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37 Responses to Kelp

  1. Chrisj says:

    Wonderfully descriptive piece. I’ve seen it. I’ve been there — green rocks, golden brown kelp, the slopping sea, swirling fronds — I miss it all.

  2. Iris D says:

    Harry, your imagery is charming and flows magically. Great blog and lovely poetry.

  3. TheMsLvh says:

    Another great find this morning! I have really enjoyed your blog.! I live next to the ocean and can visualize exactly what you were writing. Thank you for celebrating the world of tides and kelp.

  4. Imagine writing such a beautiful poem on kelp. This must be a first. How wondrously your vision transformed them into mermaid like creatures with flowing hair. I’n so glad I stumbled upon your blog Harry. Thoroughly enjoying whatever I have been reading.

    • That is kind of you, Nadira. The hour of low tide is atmospheric during the few days of extreme low tides – then, rarely seen things are exposed and the sea slops and slaps in a strange way.

  5. keep it up.
    invite you to take our week 5 writing challenge,
    anything comes to mind would be awesome to share,
    hope to see your in.
    Happy Saturday.

  6. Virtual Sinner says:

    The littoral is an every-changing place. Very nice.

  7. Man of many (talented) words! Sea kelp awashed with me! Loved it!

  8. earlybird says:

    Really good, Harry. Incredibly vivid. I particularly like ‘waist deep in a slopping sea’. Yes. That’s just how it is. And the last stanza is perfect.

    It is like a song.

  9. Ector Ward says:

    Harry, you are beautiful, your words I mean.
    “In an hour the Moon returned –
    towing the flow astern,”
    The moon a ship, its light trail towing the flow.
    Absolutely beautiful.
    Also your brown haired kelp daughters.
    You make me love again.

  10. This is stunning, the imagery, the flow, loved it!

  11. magher1 says:

    Enchanting scenery! Love your narration here 🙂

  12. Really great! I can sense you have a real-life relationship with the kind of environment you are describing here Harry.

    Personally, I know kelp only from eating some kinds of it, mostly wakame and kombu, and from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s kelp forest, which is pretty authentic, as far as a contained display can be, in demonstrating a wild habitat.

    Thanks for writing such a beautiful poem on a subject that had not even occurred to me as poetic material. You do wonders with it, and your language tickles my imagination. Makes me want to go out there and swim with the seaweed!

  13. Ravenblack says:

    Love the imagery. 🙂 Really enjoyed reading this.

  14. kez says:

    a magical piece that transports you to the edge of the sea ….thank you for sharing

  15. A lovely, magical poem.

  16. Mike Patrick says:

    No man could pen that poem without experiencing the scene. The beauty of the dancing kelp is projected to the reader, crystal clear. I agree, it feels like a song or a chant heard in a harbor pub.

  17. Loved it harry. Green rocks, yes they trun green don’t they?

  18. wordcoaster says:

    Hmm, beautiful and vivid description. Love the personification of the kelp. Altogether a very peaceful poem. 🙂

  19. Stephanie says:

    I really love this poem Harry. It reminds me of a song people sing over and over together during good times with food and drink. I know that is not very precise, but that is where it took me. Sensual imagery and I especially love the closing tangled heads in the churning sea.

  20. Kim Nelson says:

    I adore this beach scene. You allowed me to hear the sloshing waves, see the kelp sway. Quite evocative.

  21. A beautiful poem. Very visual and pleasant. I like it!

  22. Jo Bryant says:

    Oh wow. When I read this out loud it made my mouth happy. 🙂

  23. Jingle says:

    the shifting of the view down by the green rock river is stunning in your words.
    magical poetry.

    Happy Rally.

  24. Susannah says:

    Oh Harry, this is wonderful, I love it!

    (I’ve just read it aloud to Joe.)

    • Thanks, Susannah. There is a magic at dead-low water during spring-tide. Then the sea bed shows hidden features and there is a strange slapping, slopping sound as it pauses for an hour.

  25. Have I seen this before? It is so lovely, ethereal, and the last stanza is superb.

    • Yes, Viv – you likely have. It might be a couple of years ago on the OU site.
      I’m not writing new verse just now. Dried up. I’m probably in need of a retreat.
      Next week I hope to walk the moorland on my own – that might do the trick.

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