The Streets Where Men Gather by © Janis Zroback

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Who hath desired the Sea? Her excellent loneliness rather
Than forecourts of kings, and her outermost pits than the streets where men gather
Inland, among dust, under trees
…inland where the slayer may slay him….
Inland, out of reach of her arms, and the bosom whereon he must lay him
His Sea from the first that betrayed…. at the last that shall never betray him:
His Sea that his being fulfils?
So and no otherwise….so and no otherwise …..hillmen desire their Hills
…R Kipling

This is another painting from my collection “Who Hath Desired the Sea” (see the others below)…
The poem is a magnificent one which resounds with the movement of waves, (recite it out loud and you will see), and doing the paintings required me to imagine myself out at sea….
But here in the longing for home that the poem portrays, are the streets where men gather, where light and speed take precedence over humanity, where men are slain and terror presides and yet where beauty still lives….it is painted in an abstract impression of night in the city

Watercolour on Arches Not…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

The Shudder, The Stumble, The Swerve

  • 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

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

  • Susan Duffey
    Susan Duffeyabout 3 years ago

    vibrant, expressive and glowing scene

  • Thank you so much Susan….

    – © Janis Zroback

  • ☼Laughing Bones☾
    ☼Laughing Bones☾about 3 years ago

    Oh my. this emits power, very compelling piece, love your color palette

  • That is the feeling I wanted to convey, with the strong colour, movement and light…thank you so much…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Pat Yager
    Pat Yagerabout 3 years ago

    THIS is a dazzler, Janis! A real show-stopper!

  • Lovely of you to say so Pat…thank you so much…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Cindy Schnackel
    Cindy Schnackelabout 3 years ago

    Wonderful energy and contrast!

  • Thank you so much Cindy…the poem is so inspiring I could do a ton of paintings based on it….

    – © Janis Zroback

  • AuntDot
    AuntDotabout 3 years ago

    Love the dark and light colors and the vibrancy of this. Nice work as usual, Janis!

  • Thank you so much Dot…I’m really happy you like it…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • eoconnor
    eoconnorabout 3 years ago


  • Thank you so much Liz….glad you like it…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Solomon Walker
    Solomon Walkerabout 3 years ago

    looks great Janis

  • Thank you so much Solomon..nice to see you…

    – © Janis Zroback

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

    Very powerful piece here wahini…..looks perfect.

  • Thank you so much KJ…very nice of you…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • DLKeur
    DLKeurabout 3 years ago

    Vibrant and exciting.

  • Thank you so much…this is really an honour and I appreciate it very much…

    – © Janis Zroback

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