Poem in Response to The Sunday Whirl # 10

29 Jun

I know! Two in one day, but I am late with this one, and early with the other. This is in response to The Sunday Whirl’s tenth wordle:

The Singing Sands
of the Isle of Eigg

On hot windy days
at the beach,
sand flitting across
the dunes, tiny grains
of polished quartz
pepper my skin

while I sit silent in the shade
of copper marram grass.
My hand kisses
the sand’s surface
and a haze of grains collide,
amplified energy

escapes, resonates,
vibrations shape waves
like a cello when the bow
graces the strings,
a synchronized hum –
the sand crystals sing.

I climb down
inhaling G sharp.

Notes: My brain took the word sands and ran. Then it came back and said: Oh. There are eleven other words. It still clung to its original idea of the singing sands [which do exist] so it took me a while to coerce…er…work the other words all in. I like parts of the poem, but not all, so any ideas/suggestions/critiques welcome.



Posted by on 29/06/2011 in exercises, poetry, writing


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

21 responses to “Poem in Response to The Sunday Whirl # 10

  1. anjum wasim dar

    29/06/2011 at 9:52 pm

    like a cello when the bow
    graces the strings,
    a synchronized hum –
    the sand crystals sing.

    I climb down
    inhaling G sharp.

    Loved this beautiful musical , full of stark dense images, with movement in the words.i felt myself moving on the sand but the best is the musical touch as my love of musical instruments clings with the twins-the best line if I may say ”inhaling G sharp” there is a double reason for me-can you guess m?

  2. margo roby

    29/06/2011 at 10:28 pm

    That’s my favourite line too, Anjum, but I am not musical so you will need to tell me the double reason!


    • anjum wasim dar

      30/06/2011 at 4:44 am

      Oh Dear The Twins , do create an ‘airy milky shiny waltzing ”idea up in the Constellations’ stirring a melody which spreads quickly and cannot be ‘gathered in time…The letter G is very symbolic here…I interpreted it like…”The Poet is on the golden sandy Earth, but with amplified energy , rises high up to the ethereal heavenly domains-”then the poet says”I climb down”which proves that its the imaginative spirit which has risen with power collected from the ‘singing crystals” from the Earth to the limitless space and flying all over, enjoying the beauty in vastness , an unbelievable trip , a journey to the unknown , returns , happy and satisfied and while descending ”breathes into the special musical atmosphere she finds ,which is similar to ‘G’ chord’
      the ”synchronized hum” WOW Margo, see the grandeur of the poem. Super work.

  3. wordsandthoughtspjs

    29/06/2011 at 11:00 pm

    This is beautifully penned, Margo. i love the ending to this.


  4. margo roby

    29/06/2011 at 11:58 pm

    Thank you, Pamela!

  5. Tilly Bud

    30/06/2011 at 4:29 am

    Love the way you used ‘sands’ in this poem. Wonderful.

    The thing to do is ignore the wordle words if you’re forcing them in. It’s not mandatory to use them all and the poem should never suffer because of them.

    Having said that, I don’t know if you used all the words because I enjoyed the poem so much.

    • margo roby

      30/06/2011 at 10:30 am

      I almost did ignore my problem word haze, Tilly. But having managed eleven words, I wanted that last one in. I would have let it go if I didn’t like the result.

      And thank you for your lovely comment.


  6. Traci B

    30/06/2011 at 9:25 am

    I have no critique at all; I loved every bit of it and want to go to that beach and hear those singing sands.

    • margo roby

      30/06/2011 at 10:31 am

      So do I, Traci, so do I. There are a surprising number around the world, but this was the first one I heard of and I have always wanted to go.


  7. vivienne Blake

    30/06/2011 at 9:44 am

    Have you been to Eigg? Those Hebridean islands are brought to life in your poem. I love the romance of it, and the music of it, despite what you say about not being a musician. G# is a strange note to choose – fine on its own but weird in some contexts, just as those singing sands are weird.

  8. margo roby

    30/06/2011 at 10:33 am

    I have not, Viv, but have had a long distance love affair with the Hebrides for most of my life. The sands tend to sing in E, F, and G [I love that there are people who find out these things]. I needed the sharp so figured the notes probably stray occasionally.

    Viv, your cat? I hesitate to ask, but do want to know.


  9. vivienne Blake

    30/06/2011 at 11:13 am

    Minouchki has not returned. He may just be exploiting the abundance of wild food just now, but we’re not terribly hopeful. I miss him.

    Hebrides – We camped every year for donkey’s years on the NW coast of Scotland, and made a couple of cruises round the islands in a friend’s converted fishing boat, so lots of lovely memories.
    Have you read the Lilian Beckwith novels/autobiogs? A Rope in Case is the first, about crofting life.

  10. margo roby

    30/06/2011 at 11:24 am

    Viv, I am so sorry.

    And, yes, I have the series and reread the first three often. They are my comfort reads when nothing else will do. That’s where the love affair started.

  11. brenda w

    30/06/2011 at 12:37 pm

    Polished grains of tiny quartz pepper my skin is an exquisite image for something we all experience at the beach. This is top notch writing, Margo! You make me want to sit in the shade of copper marram grass. It makes poetry richer with specifics like marram grass, or in my recent poem about Benton Lake, the gadwall (it’s like a duck). Vocabulary choice is one of the delights of writing…I like your play with it.

    I’m off to read about enjambment!

    • margo roby

      30/06/2011 at 12:58 pm

      Thank you, Brenda! Word choice is why I love revision so much. It’s like a treasure hunt. Your gift of words each week makes me pay attention because the words have to work for the poem to work.

      And, thank you for the topic. I love getting a topic and brushing up, or learning, about it so I can offer it for discussion.


  12. 1sojournal

    30/06/2011 at 10:29 pm

    Beautiful Margo, for all of the reasons just stated. I made a rather weird connection. Anne Sexton’s poem, Ringing The Bells, in which she is in an E ward and therapy consists of each patient being handed a bell and then having to ring it when it’s their turn. She always has to ring E flat. A rather lifeless, listless tone. I saw something in the two poems juxtaposed. Sexton wrote in an era when women were still considered a bit histerical if they chose to get involved in writing, especially poetry. And her poem realistically calls attention to that need to be conformed, just another non-entity in a world aready filled with such. But, your poem sings off the page, rings loud and clear of the changes, free to be just what it is: a perfect image and sound. Thanks for this one, love it. BTW, I didn’t notice the wordle words and had to go back to find them.


    • margo roby

      30/06/2011 at 11:43 pm

      I love the connection, Elizabeth. Now I need to reread the poem. It has been a while. Thank you so much for your comments and if you didn’t notice the words my little fight with some of them was worth it.


  13. Marianne

    03/07/2011 at 8:19 am

    This is spectacular. Love how you made sand the focus of your poem.

  14. margo roby

    03/07/2011 at 2:11 pm

    Thank you, Marianne. I first read of these sands years ago in a Dorothy Sayers detective novel. Have been fascinated ever since.

  15. Mr. Walker

    10/07/2011 at 8:13 pm

    Margo, love the idea of singing sands; had no idea there was such a thing. I love the cello; it’s one of my favorite instruments, so that “resonated” with me. Sand moving like that is so visual, so to explore sound with it was lovely.

    There is an exhibit at the Exploratorium where you pour sand on a metal disc, and then pull a bow or other tools across the disc, and the sand makes visual patterns that reflect the sound vibrations. Your poem made me think of that – that sound/visual connection with sand.


    • margo roby

      10/07/2011 at 8:57 pm

      Richard, I first read about the sands many years ago, in a Josephine Tey mystery, and researched them. The fact of their existence still fascinates me. I too love the cello and imagine its sound rising from dunes…

      I haven’t been to the Exploratorium in years! And that exhibit wasn’t there, I don’t think, It sounds like something I would watch for quite some time. I have more sand poems tickling at the back of my mind.



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