The Poetry of Oceans

“For most of history, man has had to fight nature to survive; in this century he is beginning to realize that, in order to survive, he must protect it.”  Jacques-Yves Cousteau

Tuesday, June 8, 2021, marked World Oceans Day. The theme “The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods.”   

This year was a declaration of intentions that launches a decade of challenges to reach the Sustainable Development Goal 14, “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources”, by 2030.

When I stand at the ocean’s edge, I feel the immenseness, the power, the elegant grandeur that seems unrelenting and invincible. Even with an ocean’s vast and tempestuous nature, I feel its underlying vulnerability and my protective response. We must, individually and collectively, accept the challenge – to care for our shared oceans which connect us all.

Three billion people’s livelihood depends upon the health of marine and coastal biodiversity. The air we breath, the weather patterns we enjoy, and the medicinal ingredients that help fi­ght cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart diseases come from our oceans.

Travel with me to Newfoundland and look out over the Atlantic Ocean and remember the words of Rachel Carson:

“The winds, the sea, and the moving tides are what they are. If there is wonder and beauty and majesty in them, science will discover these qualities… If there is poetry in my book about the sea, it is not because I deliberately put it there, but because no one could write truthfully about the sea and leave out the poetry.”

74 Thoughts

    1. Thank you, Cindy. How wonderful to meet Jacques Cousteau! He recognized the power of community. “It takes generosity to discover the whole through others. If you realize you are only a violin, you can open yourself up to the world by playing your role in the concert.” Jacques Yves Cousteau

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, Shey. So glad that you joined me. One of my most favorite quote/poem is by Sarah Kay: “Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.”

      Liked by 4 people

    1. I am delighted that you came over to my side of the world to Newfoundland. There are so many different emotions that come from the ocean. One day it is storm and rushing winds, the next day it is calm under the warmth of sunshine and a clear sky. It seems we meet ourselves when we reach out to feel the ocean. Sending hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Dear Rebecca, we are so small and insignificant in front of the significant nature. I hope and wish that humans have understood the grandeur of the seas, mountains, oceans, trees, and all blisses which we have gotten as presents. And if, hopefully not too late. Thank you for this fabulous post.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thank you for joining me to look out at the immense ocean. It is hard to believe that the oceans of this world are in grave peril.

      “Many of us ask what can I, as one person, do, but history shows us that everything good and bad starts because somebody does something or does not do something.” Sylvia Earle, Oceanographer

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I do so love walking near the ocean. Your beautiful photos stirred some lovely memories for me of times gone by. Your narrative is thought-provoking, the quotes are so true, and the video is lovely. What is that wonderful music in the background?

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I would love to see photos from Cape Town!! We visited Newfoundland in 2019, one of the last trip we took before Covid19. It is heartening to see that progress is being made for opening up travel again. Thank you for joining me virtually, Robbie!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful and important post, Rebecca. Oceans are a palpable presence in the lives of many, in the imaginations of almost all, and in some of the world’s most memorable literature. They must be kept healthy. The video you included has lovely images and (as another commenter noted) lovely music.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. When I was writing this post, I just happened (of course you knew I would) to look up books that have oceans as a main theme. From Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea” to “The Silent World” by Jacques Cousteau and “The Sea Around Us” by Rachel Carson, to Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick” we have been graced with wonderful narratives that challenge us to be caretakers rather than “takers” of these mighty oceans. It is frightening to know that they can be wounded by humanity.

      “There is, one knows not what sweet mystery about this sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath…”Herman Melville,

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Thank you for the poetry, the video, and your thoughts about a very significant subject–our oceans! ! When we think of our beautiful oceans, the biggest portion of our globe, we often forget that this huge amount of water that covers the biggest part of our world needs our concern and care. We read much about the concern of our scientists, and others who study our oceans, about the health of these mighty waves. Let us join with others as we strive to keep the health of our beautiful oceans in a very important place. This is not only a beautiful piece of literature, but also a call to action.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thank you, Frances, for your insight on a call to action. When we think of all the massive challenge we face as a global community, we wonder how we can participate in bringing about a solution. And yet, it is these individual actions, however small, that will bring about change- reduce energy use, eat sustainable seafood, buy ocean friendly product, don’t litter!! https://www.worldwildlife.org/stories/7-ways-you-can-help-save-the-ocean. Thank you for joining me on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I felt like I was there with you, Rebecca! Next time you visit — you must take your favourite sister with you (that’s me of course!). Seriously though — this post touched my heart …it was the connection to the ocean as it represents a timelessness that we forget in our so busy lives — amongst the myriad of minutia that clutters my life, this post was my reminder this morning … I will be returning to this post again so that I can remember to connect with the things that are really important!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I felt you were there with me, too, Sarah. When travel comes back, let’s go on an adventure. The oceans are calling us to remember that time does not wait but pushes us ever forward as the waves to the shore. Have a wonderful day. Looking forward to our next podcast! I have a great book that I’m reading.

      Hark, now hear the sailors cry,
      Smell the sea, and feel the sky,
      Let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic.
      Into the Mystic” Van Morrison, Lit Up Inside: Selected Lyrics

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Dear Rebecca,
    thanks a lot for this post about the ocean. We love the ocean as well. Living next to the sea, we know about its beauty and dangers.
    Great pictures of the northern seas.
    Thanks for sharing
    Love & Hugs
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Do you remember when we walked the sandy beaches near Cley-next-the Sea? What a wonderful day it was to feel the sunshine and warm wind that came off the ocean. Newfoundland in June still has the biting chill of early spring. When we went out to view the icebergs, I spoke with the captain of the boat, who told me stories of when he was a fisherman. I confess, I became quiet seasick so I cannot imagine what it would be like in a storm. I think that Vincent Van Gogh says it best: “The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.” Sending much love and many hugs to my dear friends, The Fab Four of Cley!

      Liked by 4 people

  7. Along with your words here that evoke these feelings, “When I stand at the ocean’s edge, I feel the immenseness, the power, the elegant grandeur that seems unrelenting and invincible,” I would add ‘eternity.’ Your beautiful video helps me feel like I’m standing on the edge of the world in so many ways, one might say, touching the fringes of that eternity.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. That is a wonderful word – eternity. Looking into the unknown with expectation – on the edge of the world. Meeting something that always was. “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

      When I was a child, I used to imagine what eternity would feel like. Not in the sense of an afterlife, but of the possibility of something lasting forever. And then Pi came along with all of its numbers that reached into infinity. So I equaled eternity with infinity. Then I met up with Leonard Mlodinow and his thought,
      “Science has revealed a universe that is vast, ancient, violent, strange, and beautiful, a universe of almost infinite variety and possibility one in which time can end in a black hole, and conscious beings can evolve from a soup of minerals.”

      But there is a different between eternity and infinity, although I still cannot fully grasp either of the concepts. Perhaps that is what makes it all the more amazing.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. You live in a beautiful place, Jennifer. I loved Newfoundland – the brisk air and the smell of the sea. When we climbed Signal Hill, I thought that I would be blown away with the wind. Spectacular feeling. You reminded me of one of my favourite ocean quotes:
      “Those who live by the sea can hardly form a single thought of which the sea would not be part.” Hermann Broch

      Liked by 3 people

  8. We were all born of the primordial seas. And we’re genetically connected to the oceans right down the salinity of our blood. For millions of years we listened to the pound of the surf and felt it’s rhythm. How can we not be mesmerized. A lovely post Rebecca. ❤ ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh Diana, how very well said. There is a call that comes from the depths of the oceans – to me is sounds like music that drifts gently through the crashing waves. I am reminded of ancient myths and long ago journeys. Thank you for your visit and for adding depth to this conversation.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. A wonderful post…I love the sea so calm one minute and so wild the next it always evokes a feeling of calm or a feeling of awe at its mighty best …Thank you for following CarolCooks2, Rebecca 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  10. This was breathtakingly beautiful! I love the ocean and this post touched me deeply. With the photographs and the music, you did capture the poetry of the ocean. Thank you for sharing this magical piece with us…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am delighted that you joined me at the ocean’s edge, Linda. Looking into the blues and greys of the sea and then to the horizon, I feel as if I have become part of the poetry. Sending many hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I am delighted that you joined me on the edge of the ocean. I agree – there are depths to the ocean that we can only imagine. This is one of my favourite “ocean” quotes “I am the shore and the ocean, awaiting myself on both sides.” Dejan Stojanovic

      Liked by 2 people

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