Abroad in New Zealand: bungee jumping, skydiving, white water rafting, et cetera, and I end up writing THIS?

Gettin' my hobbit on with my pants all rolled up

I originally wrote “Beth” as a writing exercise that was intended to help “increase powers in sentence writing.” I decided to “go the extra mile” by using way too many conjunctions and absolutely no punctuation whatsoever (“polysyndeton”). This decision was inspired by passages in Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses and many run-on sentences written by Ernest Hemingway. Thankfully, the astonishingly long 250-word sentence was capable of being cut into a poem format, and would ultimately become the poem that can be seen below.

“Beth” is based on my experience at Bethells Beach with the Boston University study abroad group in July 2010. I wanted to express the powerful and raw personality of New Zealand’s nature by describing the perfect example of a New Zealand beach. For us Americans, a typical beach is sunny, warm, and relaxing; in New Zealand, however, the typical beach is wild, unforgiving, desolate, colossal, stunning, beautiful, surreal, strong, spiritual, and absolutely mesmerizing. All these adjectives would never be able to describe what I actually wanted to express, so I – in a very “Romantic” mood – wrote this instead…

NOTE: “Beth” has since been published on BU Quad — Boston University’s independent online magazine — with a vocal recording performed by yours truly. Please feel free to check it out over on their website!

Beth

The wind whooshed downward like the massive broom tips of some giant maid
Frantically sweeping the dirty mist under the old rug of grey clouds looming
Above the sound of a frothing sea far off in the distance.
 
And the filthy top-layer of dusty black sand came to life,
Slowly tumbling over itself and tumbling over and over,
Nervously popping upwards in higher and higher bounces
Like fleas collectively taking flight like an albatross:
Scraping along the oceantop then gliding through a trough
Then skimming a peak
Then gliding again
Then skimming again
Then gliding again
Until finally cupping a generous gust of wind only to be its captive
And forced to soar wherever it wanted to blow.
 
And it blew
Toward the lone figure
Hunched under the abandoned lifeguard tower like a penguin in a blizzard waiting for it to pass,
And the wood wept its saturated tears upon his hair as he gazed out
At the calamitous beauty of the place that
Reviled his presence and
Wished him gone
To no avail
Before succumbing to his patience and painting the faint brushstrokes of a rainbow descending
From the clouds to let spears of sunlight
Pierce the ground and
Halt the wind and
Pin the sand.
 
And the man walked out
To where the ocean reached toward him and stretched like taffy
To create a mirror that reflected the clearing sky above,
And he walked atop the mirror towards the foamy wall
Of where the ocean peaked and tumbled and thrashed down upon itself
 
And then he stood
Where its powerful hands pulled his heels like a desperate lover
Beckoning him
To join her out far beyond where his eyes could see.
 

Jonah Lundberg
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