The Seagulls and Thyme

Copyright Robert Johnston
I am
A Seagull
For words, to
Say, I
Love you.
I am up
Rocks, and crags,
Bushes, to
Find a
Bare flower
That reminds
Me of
Are too
Rare, for
Roses, or
Red bill
Will not find,
No, not
Mollusk to
Upon the
Rocks and
Delve the
Of what it
To love
And know
you, like
Similes and
Upon brains
Of lovers
When I
You, I
Scared to
Drop you;
But, you
Tied to
Me, when
That smile
Broke in-
To a
Run, and
A gasp
From my
Bill, as
A gull-cry
Of joy
Lifting wings
Of, grey
Far away–
I felt
As if, even
I, were
A Rosella, or
Longer a
Bound for
Flowers, or,
Lovers, or,
Losers, and
Weepers; but
I found
The Toi-Toi
Ferns of
Bush: there
I saw you, and
You from above.
The Sea-
Became a
From stem
To stem, and
Arm to
Arm, and
Hip to hip
As Two
Caught up
In a day-
Night dance
The bloom
Of the
As Tuis
In Kowhai Trees
I found
You here
in Aotearoa,
In Maui’s
In the
Land of
The Seagulls
And thyme.
© Iain Sutherland, 2013 
© Robert Johnston, 2013 (Inset image – Top)
(Bottom Image) Central Otago thyme (Header) New Zealand Seagull in flight.


27 thoughts on “The Seagulls and Thyme

  1. I really enjoyed that. Here and there, snippets stood out to me. They were pulled into higher clarity by an affinity to my own experience with the emotions I perceived them to propose.

    Also, I would be quite interested to hear how/why you decide on your stanza structure. What is the purpose of its fragmented form?

  2. This is very Sagacious. It is also very clever how you see love and relationships.Even in the most secluded place on earth, lovers can still find each other. I totally agree. Unless I misunderstood this. please let me know.

    • I love that word: Sagacious. You are right! The seagull is a lonely bird scavenging for food, until he finds one mollusk more precious than others. When he breaks it open its contents change him, he becomes a Kererū or Rosella or Tui (all native birds of New Zealand). The lovers find each other ‘in the most secluded place,’ but love transforms them. The imagery of native bush and birds, in contrast to sea cliffs and seagulls, is meant to be stark. Their love is natural, and of this place.

      Thanks for your wonderful comments 😀

      • May be we can be poet at alert here. Help each other out. I think you are a master minder here. looking forward for an organization here. Although I am freelancer who also loves to write on other issues though..

  3. I love the double representation. You can read it once and see the sea gull eating a mollusk, or as a representation of finding love. How at first we cradle it with fear, then we are screaming for joy and running. Interesting poem. Far from dull, flat, or common.

    • ahhh, James, Your comments are so thoughtful and insightful. You nailed it in your description. My assignments are over for the week, I’m looking forward to coming back and reading about Daroywn arriving at the stoneclaw mountains.

      • I’m looking forward to polishing off the rest of your materials…

        Actually, I’m not… I’ll be very sad to out of materials to read from you. You are going to have to put in double overtime.


      • haha well my Girlfriends away for three weeks, and to be honest I have no idea what to do with myself. She’s in the Philippines. I guess I’ll have to do that double overtime you mentioned! 😛 hahah

      • I once spent near on two hours lost in the world of your riddle. I can stand the idea of being tortured for so long again. Why subject yourself to a willful torture?

        I did see the last part as “ampersand” but didn’t think anything of it at the time. I just thought it was &. Anyway, who knows maybe I’ll feel like self torture once my poem is finished.

      • Haha. Sounds good. I don’t want to keep you completely distracted from writing! You write too damn well. I’d feel bad. Though I have to admit, your purposeful writing has far outweighed your non-sense stuff. Then again, I’ve never cared much for non-sense writing. I didn’t care for Waiting for Godot.

        You have a lot of wisdom and insight to share in unique ways, keep doing that.

      • I need to get to bed. I know better than to try to skimp on one of your poems with only -20 minutes. I will read it tomorrow.

        I’m debating on submitting Broken for short short story publishing, but I’m not sure if it is good enough or could be made better. It’s like knowing that it could always be different, but not really knowing if different would make it better.

        Thanks for your critique, again. I’m glad I have such a wonderful friend.

  4. I enjoyed reading this! I must confess that I don’t understand the format though. Why are there so few words to a line? Does it imply a particular cadence with which it should be read? I found the words beautiful none the less. Well done!

    • Hi CJ, thanks for commenting! I’m glad you enjoyed it. You’ve asked some insightful questions, I’ll do my best to answer them.

      1) When you read my poetry, try to follow the punctuation rather than the line breaks. I use a lot of enjambment or run-on lines. In some cases, even if a poem has an odd structure, it can be read like prose.

      2) I chose disjointed couplets with enjambment because I wanted to create a sense of movement, space, and simplicity. It’s really hard to describe what I was thinking, but this is how the poem came to me. I like that each couplet bleeds into the other, it should give the poem a sense of pace.

      3) Sometimes my poem’s structures are merely aesthetic. I liked the way the poem read with this format, it seemed to jump and dance from line to line. You might notice that each second line usually has a stressed syllable. That combined with the open quick format give the poem rhythm and movement.

      Out of curiosity, how did you initially read it?

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