o'er seas that have no beaches

O'er seas that have no beaches
To end their waves upon,
I floated with twelve peaches,
A sofa and a swan.

The blunt waves crashed above us
The sharp waves burst around,
There was no one to love us,
No hope of being found --

Where, on the notched horizon
So endlessly a-drip,
I saw all of a sudden
No sign of any ship.

- Mervyn Peake, from 'A Book of Nonsense' (1972).

Update: Readers of Peake's novel 'Mr Pye' (1953) will recognize this poem as recited by Mr Pye during his climactic night of wrestling with the forces of good and evil within him. It is a slightly different version from the one later published in 'A Book of Nonsense'. Here it is for comparison:

O'er seas that have no beaches
To end their waves upon,
I floated with twelve peaches,
A sofa and a swan.

With flying-fish above me
And with cat-fish all around
There was no one to love me
Nor hope of being found --

When, on the blurred horizon
(So endlessly a-drip),
I saw -- all of a sudden!
No sign... of any... ship.
Recommended:

boy in darkness

Mervyn Peake 's novella 'Boy in Darkness' is a little-known addition to the famous Gormenghast trilogy. Published (oddly enough) as a children's book, it is a sketchy but chilling horror tale in Peake's trademark gothic style. The c… Read the full post »

three comments

There is a mistake above (and it's a big one for lovers of Mervyn Peake's poetry.)
'Where' is wrong (first word of third verse)
It should be 'When'.

M Koan , 23-02-’13 18:59

Sorry I am wrong. In the voice of the heart, G P Winnington writes 'Where'.

M Koan , 23-02-’13 19:10

Yeah, false alarm. I don't think the difference is crucial, but my Book of Nonsense really says 'Where'.

bernard (URL), 24-02-’13 10:38

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