Day Twenty One – Erasure

I remembered a short story by Katherine Mansfield called ‘At the Bay’ that I really liked, so used that for this prompt. The original, with link to full story, follows my erasure attempt. I also decided to put what I had left into a slightly more readable form. I hope the poem maintains at least an essence of the original, though I cut a lot!!!

The Bay
The tide flopped,
hot and fiery on white-veined pebbles..
Pink convolvulus threaded low tide sunlight.
Silver rock pools ripple the porous shores,
Pink and blue ravines track the edge.
A stone moved, a black feeler wavered
and was lost.
How strong, how damp the hot sun. . . .
Over verandas, exhausted-looking towels
seemed lumps of rock, a collection of shells.
The sandy dog stretched, waiting for siesta:
a piece of forked lightning, imprisoned.
The tide was out; the beach was deserted; lazily flopped the warm sea. The sun beat down, beat down hot and fiery on the fine sand, baking the grey and blue and black and white-veined pebbles. It sucked up the little drop of water that lay in the hollow of the curved shells; it bleached the pink convolvulus that threaded through and through the sand-hills. Nothing seemed to move but the small sand-hoppers. Pit-pit-pit! They were never still.
Over there on the weed-hung rocks that looked at low tide like shaggy beasts come down to the water to drink, the sunlight seemed to spin like a silver coin dropped into each of the small rock pools. They danced, they quivered, and minute ripples laved the porous shores. Looking down, bending [Page 29] over, each pool was like a lake with pink and blue houses clustered on the shores; and oh! the vast mountainous country behind those houses–the ravines, the passes, the dangerous creeks and fearful tracks that led to the water’s edge. Underneath waved the sea-forest–pink thread-like trees, velvet anemones, and orange berry-spotted weeds. Now a stone on the bottom moved, rocked, and there was a glimpse of a black feeler; now a thread-like creature wavered by and was lost. Something was happening to the pink, waving trees; they were changing to a cold moonlight blue. And now there sounded the faintest “plop.” Who made that sound? What was going on down there? And how strong, how damp the seaweed smelt in the hot sun. . . .
The green blinds were drawn in the bungalows of the summer colony. Over the verandas, prone on the paddock, flung over the fences, there were exhausted-looking bathing-dresses and rough striped towels. Each back window seemed to have a pair of sand-shoes on the sill and some lumps of rock or a bucket or a collection of pawa shells. The bush quivered in a haze of heat; the sandy road was empty except for the Trouts’ dog Snooker, who lay stretched in the very middle of it. His blue eye was turned up, his legs stuck out stiffly, and he gave an occasional desperate-sounding puff, as much as to say he had decided to make an end of it and was only waiting for some kind cart to come along.


3 thoughts on “Day Twenty One – Erasure

    • Thanks Rosey. Always loved the story, so nice to be able to engage with it in some way. Can be daunting to try and write a poem from scratch that is based on a piece of prose. Good luck with rest of NaPoWriMo!

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