Archives for posts with tag: ocean

SUBJECTS (Excerpt)
by Caroline Knox

You see them through water and glass,
(both liquids) and through air
with plenty of liquid in it
—water is moving through the air—
you see the large dolphins animated,
unfractious in their native
drink, going
back and forth interacting with
some sort of rings—in a minute-long video—
in a loop, we see these
dolphins again and again
looping through rings,
in indirect discourse
ringing through the loops.
We see, you see, dolphins
advertising something
we don’t have and
we don’t want; advertising
exfoliants and astringents,
which dolphins don’t
know about and wouldn’t
want if they did, the
sloe-eyed ones.  They
make us feel free,
silent. “Nature film,
nature film!” See them
in their independence
through water and glass articulating
dolphin home truths.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Caroline Knox is the author of Nine Worthies and Flemish (Wave Books, 2013). Quaker Guns (Wave Books, 2008) received a Recommended Reading Award 2009 from the Massachusetts Center for the Book. He Paves the Road with Iron Bars, published by Verse Press in 2004, won the Maurice English Award 2005 for a book by a poet over 50. A Beaker: New and Selected Poems appeared from Verse Press in 2002. Her previous books are The House Party and To Newfoundland (Georgia 1984, 1989), and Sleepers Wake (Timken 1994). 

Her work has appeared in American Scholar, Boston Review, Harvard Magazine, Massachusetts Review, New Republic, Paris Review, Ploughshares, Poetry (whose Bess Hokin Prize she won), TriQuarterly, The Times Literary Supplement, and Yale Review. Her poems have been in Best American Poetry (1988 and 1994), and on Poetry Daily. Six poems are anthologized in The Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry, Second Edition.

She has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the Massachusetts Cultural Council (1996, 2006), The Fund for Poetry, and the Yale/Mellon Visiting Faculty Program.

Photo: Dolphin playing with air bubble (

Editor’s Note (and I did not know this until today — where have I been?): Dolphins blow air bubbles underwater and play with them as toys.

We celebrate Herman Melville’s 194th birthday today with an erasure poem based on the opening page of Melville’s masterwork, Moby-Dick, courtesy of source material and erasure software at Wave Books.

Erasure Poem by Silver Birch Press
In honor of the mighty Melville’s birthday, we invite our readers to create their own Moby-Dick-inspired erasure poems and email them to We promise to post your creations! Get started at this link.


ABOUT HERMAN MELVILLE:  Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 – September 28, 1891) was an American writer best known for the novel Moby-Dick. His first three books gained contemporary attention (the first, Typee, became a bestseller), but after literary success in the late 1840s, his popularity declined in the mid-1850s and never recovered during his lifetime. When he died in 1891, he was almost completely forgotten. It was not until the “Melville Revival” in the early 20th century that his work won recognition, especially Moby-Dick, which was hailed as one of the literary masterpieces of both American and world literature. He was the first writer to have his works collected and published by the Library of America. (Read more at

by Madeline Tiger

The huge grey gull
over the Jersey Turnpike
steely as Amtrak

crosses long above this
congestion, soars
toward the seashore

his wings waving slowly

His beak points beyond
our dull metal,
grey as we’ve made him

He’s traversing our lines
of bright cars, hot motors
rushed and stalled
in their own fumes

Far up he glides, he is
pointing to shining water,

to the waves that glisten –
ripples, breakers
with fierce bursting crests—
and when he squawks out there,

his cry leaves a whiteness
in the mind of the driver

…From The Earth Which is All by Madeline Tiger, 2008 (featured in the New York Times article “Selected Works by New Jersey Poets,” 1/2/2009)

Photo: “Seagulls at the Jersey Shore” by Amy Pospiech


“Doesn’t it seem to you,” asked Madame Bovary, “that the mind moves more freely in the presence of that boundless expanse, that the sight of it elevates the soul and gives rise to thoughts of the infinite and the ideal?” GUSTAVE FLAUBERT, Madame Bovary (1857)

Painting: “Young Woman at the Window, Sunset” by Henry Matisse (1921)

maggie and milly and molly and may
by e.e. cummings

maggie and millie and molly and may
went down to the beach (to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles, and

millie befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles: and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.




by Chris Davidson

I was in Pismo Beach with my wife

and her mother Phyllis, and her husband Greg,

and we stayed in a hotel room on the second-floor,

with two queen-sized beds,

and Greg stood by the open door of the room,

smoking, looking out at the ocean, where he saw,

under thick white clouds lumbering cross the sky

like whales, whales—first time he’d seen them

in the wild, he said. And the smoke lifted

from his cigarette, and the mist from the whales

lifted as if in reply, and all of this

I don’t remember, none of it, not the trip

to Pismo Beach, not the whales,

but Phyllis does, for she talked about it

here when she came to visit last week .

My wife barely recalls it, sort of is

the phrase she uses. All was recounted

as we walked on a pier at a different beach—

myself, my wife, and Phyllis, who pushed

her grandchildren in the stroller, the sound

of water below bringing up the hotel, the smoke,

the whales and waves, whatever else.

I Was in Pismo Beach” and other poetry by Chris Davidson will appear in the Silver Birch Press Green Anthology, a collection of poetry and prose from over 50 authors in the U.S., U.K., Europe, and Africa — available March 15, 2013.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Chris Davidson’s writing has appeared in Zyzzyva, Alaska Quarterly Review, Burnside Review, Zocalo Public Square, The Rumpus, Jacket2, and elsewhere. He teaches at Biola University and lives in Seal Beach, California, with his wife and sons.

Photo: “Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo County” (Courtesy of San Luis Obispo County website)

Learn more about California’s winter whale watching season here.


“Under the thinning fog the surf curled and creamed, almost without sound, like a thought trying to form inself on the edge of consciousness.” RAYMOND CHANDLER, The Big Sleep

Photo: “Fog, Sunset, Ocean — California” by Mike Behnken, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



by Kathy Dahms Rogers

The streetlight shines so brightly

on the ocean, each wave has a silver lip.

That’s when I realize how real

my Dreams are.  Each day I awaken

to unbelievable news from unimaginable places

whose ghostly characters crowd out my thoughts.

I try to pin them down but they fade away

as Memory frees them to float over the bluff.

Each night I eagerly await my escape,

a better life, another dream.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kathy Dahms Rogers was born in Iowa, lives in Long Beach, California, and loves to travel with her husband Jack.  She calls herself an “accidental poet” because she began writing poetry during the 1990s in a workshop she thought was going to focus on memoir and travel writing. She continues to attend these weekly workshops with poet Donna Hilbert. Now a retired college reading instructor, Kathy’s poems have been published in PEARL, a literary journal, and Voices, an anthology.

“Dreams” and other poetry by Kathy Dahms Rogers is featured in the Silver Birch Press Silver Anthology, a collection of poetry and prose by authors from the U.S. and U.K. — available in paperback and Kindle versions at

Photo: “Streetlights on the Beach, Monterey, California” by Bikini Sleepshirt, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



Poem by Joan Jobe Smith

in this Long Beach city
by the sea
seldom do we ever see
lightning striking
crackling electric silver fire
wicked witch fingers
fatal neon zaps across the sky
bandit blasts
from Beethoven thunder guns
and if we do see
it happens when
rain cloud winds
blow so hard
the ocean gets up
on its hind legs
and walks across the land.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Jobe Smith, founding editor of PEARL and Bukowski    Review, worked for seven years as a go-go dancer before receiving her BA from CSULB and MFA from University of California, Irvine. A Pushcart Honoree, her award-winning work has appeared internationally in more than 500 publications, including Outlaw Bible, Ambit, Beat Scene, Wormwood Review, and Nerve Cowboy — and she has published twenty collections, including Jehovah Jukebox (Event Horizon Press, US) and The Pow Wow Cafe (The Poetry Business, UK), a finalist for the UK 1999 Forward Prize. In November 2012, Silver Birch Press published her literary profile Charles Bukowski Epic Glottis: His Art & His Women (& me). In 2013, World Parade Books will release her memoir Tales of an Ancient Go-Go Girl. Her literary magazine PEARL will release its 50th edition in 2013—find out more at


“Innocent Bystander,” poem by Joan Jobe Smith appears — along with additional poetry and a short story from the popular author — in the new Silver Birch Press release SILVER: An Eclectic Anthology of Poetry & Prose, which features writing from an impressive list of 62 writers. Find the complete list at


“The Artist on the Seashore at Palavas” by Gustave Courbet (1819-1877)

Many of the photographs taken before, during, and after Hurricane Sandy have reminded me of favorite paintings, including the one above by French artist Gustave Courbet.