The Sea Question

The Sea Question

The sea asks ‘How is your life now?’

It does so obliquely, changing colour.

It is never the same on any two visits.
It is never the same in any particular

Only in generalities: tide and such matters

Wave height and suction, pebbles that rattle.
It doesn’t presume to wear a white coat

But it questions you like a psychologist

As you walk beside it on its long couch.

~ Elizabeth Smither; from ‘the nature of things: poems from the New Zealand Landscape’

“The Sea Question” – Petone Foreshore, oil on canvas, 150x150mm

My latest painting: of the Petone foreshore, looking towards Matiu-Somes Island and the Baring Heads of Wellington Harbour. This is the same long couch where the first of my ancestors landed around 150 years ago, to an unknown wild land on the other side of the earth…. And the sea is still asking ‘how is your life now?’

9 thoughts on “The Sea Question

  1. I love the way the sky is laid down upon brisk, thick strokes. It’s like the clouds are the shimmer cast off sunlit rough seas, as seen from high cliffs at a distance. It is a beautiful image, an adept companion for the poetry.

    I am on close terms with the sea, like the friend you haven’t seen in years, but take up immediately where you left off at every meeting. The sea no longer needs to ask. I always begin with what it wishes to know.


    1. That’s such a beautiful response to my painting and Elizabeth’s poem! It was a piece of magic to link the two and I love the journey it can take us on, to the sea!


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