Caught by the River

Filthy Weather Makes Beautiful Seas: a poem by Kurt Jackson

16th January 2022

The waves of Cornish resourcefulness and innovation, 2017. Mixed media and collage on canvas. 122 x 122cm. Image © Kurt Jackson

Filthy Weather Makes Beautiful Seas
Rain spotted, spattered, spitting patter
On a square of arm span canvas
Pewter skies
Gunmetal seas
And ochre, green, bone, ivory
Sienna, indigo, yellow
Marine tints and tones (stained)
A flowing tide approaching
My personal patch of sand

Wagtails feed their young
Next to and above me
Pipits flirt and twirl
In dance, flight and song

The sand gets in the paint
The paint gets in the sand
Gritty blackboard fingernail screeches
From a palette knife
Spreading waves
Of whitest white

And the sand hoppers
Appear marching landwards
Magicked out of the sea air
With the confidence of the waves
And threatening tideline

The smudged skyline
Between my fingers
The horizon
A wipe of the rag
A little more rain
Vertical rain
Horizontal surf
Textured with collage
A loaded brush
A laden wave
The eyes see, the ear hears
See seas, sea songs
All senses sensing
The ocean touches and tastes

The canvas shivers
Shakes and trembles
Expectant with wave crash
The wave rush
The beach moves

Water from heaven
Waters from the depths
A silver cloud
A sea of mercury
Smear scrape scratch scrawl scrub
Dribble and pour and drip

The wavelets and foamed crests
The rivulets and pools of paint
Puddles of seawater

The gravity pulls
The tide to me
Down my canvas
And into my hands and head

May 2017


Taken from ‘Kurt Jackson’s Sea’, a new book which captures the artist’s dedication to capturing the sea’s constant shape-shifting. Published by Lund Humphries and out now.