Rendezvous in Scarborough

Here’s another offering for the lead up to Valentines Day.  It is a repost that has been retitled and revised a little.

Victorian Lady Walking on Beach0001

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

The sun was shining through the blind, and I thought how pleasant it would be to pass through the quiet town and take a solitary ramble on the sands while the world was in bed.
(from ‘ Agnes Grey’, a novel by Anne Brontë)

Her first glimpse of the sea was from a room as small as the experience was vast. It wasn’t the best lodging in Scarborough, but it offered a brightening view of the bay below the promontory where a castle crumbled and sands stretched wider and wider along the indecisive surf.

Wintry gusts whined against and even through the room’s grimy window. She dressed warmly to go out before breakfast.

Things were happening in the harbor with fishing boats; on the pier shops and stalls were preparing to open. Until that morning she had only ever seen gulls playing flying games over plowed fields for the freedom of having lost their way. Now they seemed agitated in a place they belonged. Her footprints on the sand were the first since the last tide, so she could imagine she was walking where no one had before. It was colder than expected, but nothing could dissuade her from approaching the sea and what it might do next. If it had been summer she would have taken off her shoes and stockings and tiptoed into little bursts of foam at the water’s edge where seaweed bobbed to and fro. Instead her gloves were washed in icy sand as she examined shells and pebbles.

Seagulls were circling above her now, the sun dispersing any clouds as it enlarged and chose to illuminate her for whoever was there to see.

A man was coming down the strand in a great cape that belonged to an actor’s wardrobe, hailing her with hand and voice and assuming she was glad to see him.

She surrendered long before he caught up with her.

“You must be perished. Here.”

She stopped the cape from sliding off his shoulders. “Then you’ll be cold.”

“I can bear it.” He turned, wondering what distracted her from him.

It was just a thought. That she might share a little of her passion without any impropriety, looking beyond his intention and the on-looking tiers of tile-roofed houses. She pointed to the northern gray of a simple church presiding like a cathedral. “St Mary’s. Where Anne Brontë is buried.”

“Interesting.” His smile said otherwise.

“Scarborough is where she saw the sea for the first time, too.”

He rubbed her hands.

She no longer had a choice, his cloak embracing as if to hide her, stroked over her ears and cheeks, fastened under and lifting her chin. She was ashamed she could be so ready for his advances: a long kiss, an uncertain happiness, a dance without music, and a pleasure that didn’t know how to be.

The Cathedral bells signaled a chance passing. He held her arms when they separated a little and didn’t seem to notice she was crying. “Ah. I can smell chestnuts roasting. Breakfast.”

In another moment it wasn’t hard to let him go.

donatellasmallest©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.

To Éire with Love

I know a few of you will remember these pieces, but I thought they were worth reposting because they reflect my experience of Ireland. Both were written on trips I made to Southern Ireland in the 1980’s. (There are also some allusions to a couple of traditional Irish folksongs…curious if anyone knows what they are) The ‘Iris’ painting was actually never quite finished. I decided to leave it so.

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

I traveled there a woman
and came back a child
with my eyes full of the clouds
coming over the mountains
so I could never tell
how high they were;
the rivers going on
forever,
the irises
floating down to the sea,
the fuchsias so wild,
but not really.
All along the way
cowslips lived
where meadows survived
and milkmaids didn’t mind
the rain
so sudden
as suddenly gone.
The fields were greener than any
in France
through the glass of our visit
going down to the sea,
everywhere surrounding,
only my heart brave enough
to go on
into the waves,
a lonesome boatman calling me
to come live with him
forever.
1983
Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

This time the blackberries were ripening, seed pods cracking, rose hips shining in the sun blowing in and out of the sky. There was honeysuckle in the hedges, like the bloom in our cheeks as we rode along. And in the gorse and heather, again and at last. The moss was a carpet laid for our steps through a wood-and-wonder-land, dark oak, grey ash (red-berried too), silver birch and airy fern. And bluebells imagined, like a strawberry tree. Elsewhere there were mushrooms, surprising us like rabbits. While jackdaws were expected at the end of a shorter day, a silent peat fire making the night and reason we were together familiar.
Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

We lived day to day; what else was there to do? Waking to the rain that misted our view. Though it was something to see the crows claiming a chimney. To warm their hearts? Or dry their wings? By the time we ate our pink bacon the mountains were rising again. So we took to the road that still sounded wet, passing the jaunters as they passed us sympathizing or gloating as we walked up another hill. Sometimes we abandoned our wheels for the slowness of our step. To stray. Even from each other. And meet like the waters where time stood. But not too still, the water boatmen as busy as we weren’t, a fat robin flirting nearer and nearer until flying away, the light always changing.
So much time. To do nothing. But eat cream cakes and salads and sandwiches. And look at the mountains surrounding us more noticeably than the sea. It seemed all the same, being in love with each other and the place; at the end of the day going the same way as the jaunters who couldn’t see us either as we climbed gates and crossed fields, trespassing where we felt welcome.
1985

And as a bonus, from St. Patrick’s ‘Breastplate’ Prayer:

I bind unto myself today

The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.

Poem: To Éire with Love

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

I traveled there a woman

and came back a child

with my eyes full of the clouds

coming over the mountains

so I could never tell

how high they were,

the rivers going on

forever,

the irises

floating down to the sea,

the fuchsias so wild

but not really.

All along the way

cowslips lived

where meadows survived

and milkmaids didn’t mind

the rain

so sudden

as suddenly gone.

The fields were greener than any

in France

through the glass of our visit

going down to the sea,

everywhere surrounding,

only my heart brave enough

to go on

into the waves,

a lonesome boatman calling me

to come live with him

forever.

1983

Writing Note: This is the first of two posts in celebration of St Patrick’s Day this Saturday, March 17th.  Both are  reflections from a number of trips I made to Southern Ireland in the 1980’s. (There are also some allusions to a couple of traditional Irish folksongs…curious if anyone knows what they are) I’m posting without editing and the painting was actually never quite finished. I decided to leave it so.

©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.

Recalling Scarborough

The sun was shining through the blind, and I thought how pleasant it would be to pass through the quiet town and take a solitary ramble on the sands while the world was in bed.
(from ‘ Agnes Grey’, a novel by Anne Bronte)

     Her first glimpse of the sea was from a room as small as the experience was vast. It wasn’t the best lodging in Scarborough, except as could be afforded, but there was a brightening view of the bay below the promotory where a castle crumbled, sands stretching wider and wider along the indecisive surf, and stars quickly fading.
     Wintry gusts whined against and even through her grimy window. She dressed warmly and decided to go out before breakfast.
     Things were happening in the harbor with fishing boats, and on the pier shops and stalls were preparing to open. Until that morning she’d only ever seen gulls playing flying games over plowed fields for the freedom of having lost their way. Now they seemed agitated in a place they belonged. Her footprints on the sand were the first since the last tide so she could imagine she was walking where no one had before. It was even colder than expected but nothing could dissuade her from approaching the sea and what it might do next. If it had been summer she would’ve taken off her shoes and stockings and tiptoed into little bursts of foam at the water’s edge, seaweed bobbing to and fro as though the land wouldn’t let go. Instead her gloves were washed in icy sand as she examined shells and pebbles.
     Seagulls were circling her now, the sun dispersing any clouds as it enlarged and chose to illuminate her for whoever was there to see. She looked around and saw a man coming down the strand in a great cape that belonged to an actor’s wardrobe, hailing her with hand and voice, assuming she was glad to see him.
     She surrendered long before he caught up with her.
     “You must be perished. Here.”
     She stopped the cape from sliding off his shoulders. “Then you’ll be cold.”
     “I can bear it.” He turned, wondering what distracted her from him.
     It was just a thought. That she might share a little of her passion without any impropriety, looking beyond his intention and the onlooking tiers of tile-roofed houses, pointing to the northern gray of a simple church presiding like a cathedral.
     “That’s St Mary’s. Where Anne Bronte is buried.”
     “Interesting.” His smile said otherwise.
     “Scarborough is where she saw the sea for the first time too.”
     He rubbed her hands with the coldness of his own.
     She no longer had a choice, his cloak embracing as if to hide her, stroked over her ears and cheeks, fastened under and lifting her chin. She was ashamed she could be so ready for his adulterous advances, a long kiss, an uncertain happiness, a dance without music, a pleasure that didn’t know how to be.
     The Cathedral bells signalled a chance passing. He held her arms when they separated a little and didn’t seem to notice she was crying. “Ah. I can smell chestnuts roasting. Breakfast!”
     In another moment it wasn’t that hard to let him go.

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

Before me rose a lofty hill, Behind me lay the sea . . .
(from ‘The Bluebell’, a poem by Anne Bronte)

©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.