Abroad in New Zealand: bungee jumping, skydiving, white water rafting, et cetera, and I end up writing THIS?Posted: January 24, 2011
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!
BethThe 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.
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