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The Shudder, The Stumble, The Swerve... by © Janis Zroback

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Who hath desired the Sea? …the immense and contemptuous surges?
The shudder, the stumble, the swerve, as the star-stabbing bow-sprit emerges?
The orderly clouds of the Trades, the ridged, roaring sapphire thereunder …
Unheralded cliff-haunting flaws and the headsail’s low-volleying thunder …
His Sea in no wonder the same, his Sea and the same through each wonder:
His Sea as she rages or stills?
So and no otherwise … so and no otherwise …Hillmen desire their Hills

This is another painting from my collection “Who Hath Desired the Sea” (see the others below)…
As with the one before, it’s an abstract work in acrylic, while the rest are in watercolour..
This is a vibrant sunset, the sky echoing the waves in the shudder and the swerve, with a slight calm in the middle where the water gleams with the colours of the setting sun..
I have included no life except the roiling sea, no birds, no man….just "the sight of salt water unbounded

  • The poem is a magnificent one which resounds with the movement of the waves, (recite it out loud and you will see), and doing the paintings required me to imagine myself out at sea, where I have not been for a very long time..

Acrylic on Canvas…to read the other verses in the poem, click the titles of the images..

Who Hath Desired the Sea?

The Immense and Contemptuous Surges

The Moon Breaking Timely to Bare It

Her Excellent Loneliness

The Sight of Salt Wind Hounded

  • An extraordinary poem of desire is presented here and a no less extraordinary technical achievement, where the pounding energy of the sea is created through language and rhythm, only to be interrupted by a repeated question mark and masterfully turned against itself at the close of every verse. This structure means that readers are flung repeatedly against a contradiction: in speaking of the sea, the poem asks them to take pleasure in violent sound and movement but it immediately compares this pleasure with the longing for composure, for silence and stillness, as they are found in the hills.
  • This technique attempts to present as a single experience the longing for utter wildness and a desire for home. Yet for a reader who does not insist that naming the sea as ‘she’ is purely conventional, the image of a woman, perhaps a mother, hovers behind the surface of this poem. This woman, like the sea and also like the mother who abandoned him in Southsea is both the site of a dangerous turbulence of feeling and the object of inveterate longing. The hills, on the other hand, present an image of the maternal body that promises peace….M. Hamer
  • For more of my images of the Sea…click HERE


blue, grey, orange, green, janis zroback, sunset, sunrise, ocean, sea, seascape, waves, the sea, kipling, yellow, white

I paint in many different styles and feature a myriad of subject matter, which I show as individual collections….
I am inspired by the world interpreting it in brilliant colours, often influenced by the writings of famous authors and poets..
© All rights reserved. All images contained on these pages are © copyright protected by Janis Zroback and any use of these images in any form without her written permission will be considered an infringement of these copyrights.

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  • © Janis Zroback
    © Janis Zrobackabout 3 years ago

  • jyruff
    jyruffabout 3 years ago

    another beauty Janis, love the sunset (warm) colors..

  • Thank you so much Joseph…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • jyruff
    jyruffabout 3 years ago

    and the movement of your brush strokes as well ..nice peace

  • My brushes moved in rhythm with the waves.. :))

    – © Janis Zroback

  • AuntDot
    AuntDotabout 3 years ago

    I think this is one of your best, Janis. The colors are amazing and there is so much tension and movement in the water. It seems so real, but somewhat abstract at the same time. I just love it!!

  • Thanks so much Dot…I’m really happy you like it…it’s been over a year since I started the series, so I am just getting back into the feel of it now…
    I think acrylics lend themselves better to rolling waves than watercolour, and I may continue the rest of the series in acrylic…unless I change my mind… :))

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Heloisa Castro
    Heloisa Castroabout 3 years ago

    wonderful work

  • Thank you so much Heloisa…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • WhiteDove Studio kj gordon
    WhiteDove Stud...about 3 years ago

    Who hath desired the Sea?………….ME…………
    your kai scenes are magnificent

  • What a great comment!…I knew you would like this collection….thanks so much KJ…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • eoconnor
    eoconnorabout 3 years ago


  • Thank you so much Liz….I am enjoying this collection very much…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • maggie326
    maggie326about 3 years ago

    Awesome work so powerful

  • Thank you so much Maggie….

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Jan Clarke
    Jan Clarkeabout 3 years ago

    I love the col.ours and movement in this, Janis, and the way the light seems to come from within

  • Thank you so much Jan…I’m thrilled that you like it…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • DLKeur
    DLKeurabout 3 years ago

    Very feeling.

  • Fabulous news…thank you so much for the feature…I really appreciate all your support…

    – © Janis Zroback

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