A Poem by R J Askew

been meaning to write this one for a year or two .. there are beaches of black sand in some parts of the world .. here one goes a little crazy .. like starlings when the form a murmuration


Rise up, you beach of ink black sand

Rise up! Rise up! O how you stand!

Hot swirl about us, boiling storm

Reforming in this breathless air

An E, an L, a V, an O

A billion letters on the wing

A murmuration made of lives

Reforming into lines of verse

Reform! Perform! o how you storm!

Hot blinding jetness in our eyes

Dark primacies materealise

To know themselves at one with all

We settle into words-made dust

Stretched, endings, scattered on black sand


© 2015 R J Askew

My Review

Would you like to review this Poem?
Login | Register

Featured Review

Is an interesting contrast between white and black. 'Reform! Perform! o how you storm' sounds like Shakespeare trying to rewrite Othello, 'O monstrous! Monstrous!' Iago replies 'Nay, this was but his dream.' (iii.3 line 423/24) But the 'dark primacies materialise' as Marlyn Manson.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 6 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

R J Askew

6 Years Ago

Bloody hell. Is it you!? Just like old times!

Advertise Here
Want to advertise here? Get started for as little as $5


I like the incantation like a prayer to the muse. Don't all the sounds in our minds reform like the blood rushing through our own bodies echoes in a conch shell when held to the ear? Maybe we will scratch out our souls in the black sand on some desolate beach just to have them washed away by the tide...or maybe they will be memorized and memorialized by a wandering beach comber who passes our thoughts along on the island breeze with strains of calypso music. I hope the treasure seekers are out there.

Posted 2 Years Ago

Two years past, mea culpa.. not reading before.

What a musical realisation of movement. ne'er mind its title, its beginning, end and in-between!

You've turned the bar at a strangely manoevred angle with this. Taken this reader into another movement. 'Saw a nurnuration recently- went from meadows distance, from wires hidden behind trees. Took space by surprise. Sometimes erratic, almost in flighted step.. almost.

But for you the sweep of black sand becomes joined at feathhered hip, moving this way that in an extraordinary synocpated whole, not a stranggler in sight! Read your words twice, closed eyes, saw - as best i could. Thought back to my experienced vision! One sees what one wants maybe. Your words have always reached that much higher than the line on which most writers put their pen!

Hope your present work brings amazing success.

Posted 2 Years Ago

R J Askew

2 Years Ago

Thank you Miss G. *bows*

2 Years Ago

Hadn't reviewed you for ages.. so bad, so casual. A fascinating and clever re.enactment of...
Like calling to sky. Words are desire and try seduce highest above. Romantic and deep and rough. Great combination.

Posted 3 Years Ago

I never heard the word murmuration before, so thanks for the new word! I've also never seen black sand before, but your vivid description gives one an idea of how it might look & feel. Your words feel strident with many exclamation points. I'm not sure what ELVO means or stands for, maybe an author's note would help.

Posted 3 Years Ago

R J Askew

3 Years Ago

Cheers Barleygirl .. ELVO is LOVE all mashed up in the wildness of the flight .. though the flight i.. read more

3 Years Ago

Thanks for clarifying . . . nice touch!
I remember as a child, my sister and I being taken to Lanzarote by our grandma. One beach in particular remains locked forever in memory. It was at the southern tip; sand as black as sin, just like the clouds of sparrows when they form a murmuration, and the rocks pools were filled with all sorts of fascinating sea creatures. Though we visit Fuerteventura frequently now, (our parents have a holiday home there,) I've never been back to Lanzarote; perhaps I will take Charlie there someday soon.

Loved this explosion of a poem. Beccy.

Posted 4 Years Ago

Very nice. i enjoyed reading this poem. Thanks for sharing

Posted 5 Years Ago

I really liked this poem. It was lively and intriguing. I fancied the words were jumping out at me. A truly good write Mr. R. J. Askew!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Years Ago

Dear R J Askew


I was led to read you by another, who need remain nameless.

And I am pleased I was.

To understand the writing, I need to understand the writer. They are one.

My point of view.

I do not know you from Adam, except for your putting two key things on a page, your profile and your writing.

I wanted to review this piece because I wanted to review this piece of your many. There is much from which to pick.

So let me try and understand you before I review this piece as it is on here for review.

Let me form a bond as writer to reader, and reader to writer.

I always feel the need to.

In my needing to understand you, perhaps you need to understand me too as a sample reader or else you will not know from what angle I am coming.

The notion that we write to all readers is at times in a crowd of newspapers true. Otherwise in art it is perhaps foolhardy, unless we are talking pulp fiction.

Each reader is unique as is the writer.

In what might be called artistic writing (if such a notion exists) we do not write in the end for the whole, but for each part thereof, in my personal opinion. But whatever we are seeking to express, we need to remain true to ourselves, otherwise it is an act of futility.

Are high street newspapers and their audience different from the artistic? Probably? Certainly? I think so. Do you?

In your profile, you paint a picture of a successful career where you are a purveyor of words, be they yours or those of others, be they in London or elsewhere, be they published or unpublished.

Reuters. I know a few who wrote for them.

You paint yourself as a wordsmith. Be it in this piece or in your other writing, or in your profile.

That you certainly are and with merit.

You career in summary as you display it? These are the points you try to get across in your profile: 'Lancaster'; Law degree'; 'Fleet Street'; 'Geneva and Vienna'; 'OPEC'; 'The Baron ' Reuters'; 'Reuters was a news factory where words hurtled at you like trucks on some vast highway. It made me yearn for more poetic forms of expression, something with a beating heart.' (You make my point?); and then you tell the tale of your maturation to fiction writer and to poet.

It is funny that you learn more, and it applies to me most, from what people do not say than what they do say. Your writing on here fills part of that gap but I am sure not all. It is how it is. But the fun lies in seeking to fill in the gaps.

You might have noticed that many words in, I have said nothing about this piece of writing. It is my habit, forgive me.

Who am I your reader in forming a relationship or you with me?

My key words: 'Brought up in Belfast'; 'Graduate in Modern and Mediaeval Languages from Jesus College Cambridge'; 'Mergers and Acquisitions Consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers'; Travelling the world largely US / wider Europe to do deals'; 'Bilingual in French and English often doing deals in Paris, one a £1billion deal working in Avenue Kleber one of the spokes just off the Arc de Triomphe, along with the Champ Elysées, leading meetings with the directors of the largest French Utility company, in French, in the offices of Rothschild; 'Finance director of the major part of a FTSE 100 company; 'Nervous Breakdown from overworking'; 'Diagnosed with late onset Bipolar Disorder; ' suffered 10 years of consistent loss until this moment and it keeps on going relentlessly''; 'surviving'; 'writing as an outlet'; 'already published not self but with a desire to get a novel out, on here an early draft 'Split''; 'Happy to report I still suck in the air before during and after I get to sleep and blow it out in precise order in between'.

And still I haven't said a word about this piece.

Excuse the colloquialism, but is this all just 'willy waving' a term we might all find in the 'Sun' but not necessarily in the Daily Telegraph, unless the journalist's words slipped past the eyes of the editor, when both have had too much to drink the night before?

With a smile.

Do you know what our biggest connection is? You had to write to measure within the confines of a job for press. You had little latitude. There were always borders and little room for self-expression.

I did the same. The routine of having to write essays for the board of directors of the company seeking to make a purchase and relying on me to tell them whether it was worth it or not was a consistent bind. But I was often seconded to work for companies where I was not constrained by issues of liability and could be more me and say freely what I wanted to. But to the extent I could, I tried to make my rather monotonous reports art. But for me what I do here, now is a release from those ties that bind and I in my writing can say what I want as in my reviewing as long as vaguely educational and kind.

I know something about you and you about me now.

And I still haven't said anything about this piece.

But now I will:

Form: 14 lines. The start of a sonnet?

Rhyme: There is some, but it is not your intention as far as I can see, if you follow Wordsworth cited below.

Rhythm: Ah now here's the point. Everyone of your lines seeks to have 8 syllables - short, long in four pairs. This is what I think they call 'Iambic Tetrameter' the best example of which is Wordsworth's 'I wandered lonely as a cloud.'. What you do here is laudable. Whereas many wish to free themselves from strict form, you let yourself go whilst maintaining rhythm.

But Wordsworth in 'I wandered lonely as a cloud' uses 4 sets of 6 lines where the rhyme in each is ab ab cc. See above. You don't.

But what is a review worth if it does not pick?

There is one line here, where, unless you have a healthy imagination and actually have had sufficient to drink so as not to notice, the line: 'Dark primacies materialise' strays into nine. Mind you, if you have been drinking you might be able to slur your way past it. And I assure you I have not had a drop to drink today. Yet! Actually joking aside, often the only way you can measure beats or iambs is by reading it aloud. And in the end I can get myself to 8 here too.

Let's not get down into qualitative and quantative meter, or alternative notions of trochaic (long or stressed syllable followed by short) or dactylic (long or stressed syllable followed by two short). Yet! One of my favourites? Edgar Allan Poe, and his poem 'The Raven' which is Trochaic Octameter - 16 beats to the bar in places pointed (long short in 8 pairs). Listen I have only just started and have written enough already. And I am not even sure what I am talking about! Who am I to be sufficiently qualified to speak? I am just an amateur and not a professional. Let's just leave it this way, Iambic Tetrameter!

But if you are rigorously following a particular poet's form, style, rhyme and rhythm I would love to know. Educate me please. I like learning especially from the intelligent, though I can learn as much from the Robin who sits outside my conservatory every morning looking as if he wants to come in. You can learn much from anyone or anything. I am one such.

Use of English: What language do you use? Actually fairly normal everyday English apart from a few words: 'primacies' and not just the title but used in the poem 'Murmeration'.

'Primacy' being most important. Tis what it is. Ah but much better a play on words themselves perhaps in my eyes. Or is it not, given spelling differences?:

'MurmUration' 'The act of murmuring' or 'a flock of starlings'. However you spell it 'MurmEration. Sadly the spelling with an 'E' gets no mention in the 'Shorter Oxford English Dictionary' but with a 'U' it does. It isn't even an alternative spelling. However if you trawl the internet you will see lots of 'E's. This is one of those places where I just lie on my back and froth at the mouth. Why the difference? I have searched high and low to find out why. But I can't. I really don't understand the English language anymore. Do you? Maybe it is an Americanism. The Americans are 'u'ist' ... color (colour); honor (honour); Savor (savour)!

Can you explain to me the different spellings? As I say education is all. I hope to offer you as much as you offer me.

Forget the English usage nonsense, it still remains for me a play on words between 'murmuring' your words and 'a flock of starlings' as you put it in your own introductory words.

Then let's have a go at what you spell 'E.L.V.O. Are you spelling love in you own way? Is this a character from literature I do not know? Is this a variation on the name of an Elvis Presley, you know; or as one online dictionary amusingly puts it:' ELVO: Een Leven Vol Onbegrip (Dutch: A Life Full Invalidation; organization for those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)' !!!I am absolutely certain you meant the last, cough! I don't know. Only you do.

And so to the crux of the matter: MEANING.

Meaning to whom? To you? To me? To your best mate? To any reader?

In my or anyone's personal case the meaning can only be mine / theirs. Whatever you mean to say in your profile or here, it is but a sophisticated guessing game. And I can't guess. Your profile is not like Wordsworth, Keats, Shakespeare, Poe which, in standard Penguin or Wordsworth Classics, actually go to the trouble of writing you a book on the writer before you hit your first line of verse. See I have only your few words of eloquent prose by way of profile to judge.

I understand therefore Wordsworth better than I do you.

All readers have the right to their own interpretation in verse, whereas in Reuters you are tying to describe fact; in the Daily Telegraph with a conservative point of view or in the Sun whether you can find a girl with tits to back the story!

So what do I get from this?


'There are never enough, even in flocks of starling words 'to say what you mean and mean what you say'.

Whether you intend another meaning, that's your choice. The reader will take what they will take. It is not their job to understand you. It is their job and mine to interpret you 'a ma facon'!

One of these days, I will nudge myself more towards Proust and 'A la recherche du Temps Perdu' where it is all stream of consciousness with no punctuation except a full stop every five pages.

One day I will get there. I will get there soon.

R K Askew?

I am going to thank you for being you and for this piece.


You have stimulated my thought patterns, more than most, and I think I like you a lot.

Clearly what I have just written is personal. No-one else, except if they are bipolar like me, or in fact anyone else could have written this. Why? because I am unique as you and all of your readers.

I have a book in edit here, Split, told in novelistic form which I mean to get published. It has already been read by David and Jane Cornwell the 'Le Carres' and David / 'John Le Carre's' agent Johnny Geller of Curtis Brown who read it after its first six month draft and who liked it but clipped me round the ear and told me to go away an tidy it up. All that in 2010. I think in getting back to him, I may be supplying my homework late. But I do mean to, if I can just muster enough energy where as bipolar every day the act of sucking breath in and blowing it out is problematic for me. See above!

Split is 'creative non-fiction'. It is 'fact told in novelistic fashion'. It is a novel 'inspired by fact'

For me it is a noble cause for the mentally ill. It seeks to demonstrate to those with mental health disorders and those that love them, they are not alone in their sufferings. And it seeks those who know nothing but walk away, to understand and not reject the mentally ill; to destigmatise.

In all sincerity, kindness and caring but with a small nugget of humour for us all on another dreary day.

If we didn't smile, we'd cry.

Well written


This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Years Ago

James Hanna-Magill

5 Years Ago

In your own time and if you so wish RJ. That would be 'nice' a highly underrated word in the 'Englis.. read more
R J Askew

5 Years Ago

I like the 'rescuer' notion very much and have to say I can't even imagine what effect the troubles.. read more
R J Askew

5 Years Ago

I forgot to say, I smiled at your wise friend's comment about, 'you fit into the category of people .. read more
Very intense, and loud.
It's an "ecstatic" poem which shakes the dust off the slumbering audience.

I really like its energy.

I also know what beaches you speak of.
I went to a beach in Mexico that had dark (not completely black, but pretty close), and I had to literally run across the sand it was so hot.

That was the first time I ever encountered that. In L.A. we have beaches, but they're light brown, and ppl sunbathe in it.

Not so on black sand beaches, though perhaps the ones over the pond differ.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Years Ago

R J Askew

5 Years Ago

Cheers mate. Thank you.
Adore your style, it's all this passion and dark gusto, without the forced end rhymes that ruin most of the lesser executions of this style I've seen on here. Really a pleasure to read

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Years Ago

First Page first
Previous Page prev
Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


23 Reviews
Shelved in 2 Libraries
Added on August 30, 2013
Last Updated on March 16, 2015


R J Askew
R J Askew

United Kingdom

Busy re-writing a new story. more..