Monday, July 18, 2011

Tuesday Poem - IT IS ALL ONE WATER*

This time nine months ago, I was working towards an exhibition titled Waters I Have Known. Wanting to share the process and the motivation behind that body of work (a response, initially, to the Deepwater Horizon crisis) I created a companion blog where I could post pics of what was taking shape in the studio along with related texts and web links. Not long before the opening, I felt prompted to open up what had been a more-or-less solo endeavour to you, my wise and generous blog friends.  A magical dialogue ensued: moved by the texts you contributed, I asked permission to incorporate your words in a series of paintings. . . We embarked on an unexpected collaborative journey - a potent and satisfying one. The process did not end there; indeed, our initial exchange (an exploration into our world's oceans and the nature of web communities) illuminated the mysterious nature and multi-fold currents of conversation that pass between us all in the blogosphere and quickly became one of the central themes of the conference paper I presented in Phoenix in May. (*Marylinn Kelly and Penelope Todd agreed to my including their lines in the subtitle and opening paragraph of that presentation. . . ) 

One thing always leads to another and, well. . . the words you contributed to Waters I Have Known have been on another adventure since October 2010 - and since Phoenix.  Some weeks ago The Pachamama Alliance announced a film contest and invited entries from across the globe for their Possible Futures initiative. There are four categories in the competition - Peace and Freedom, Fair Societies, Sustainability and Beyond and Human Fulfillment.  Happily, my 5min film - It Is All One Water - was accepted into the Sustainability and Beyond category. It draws on more of the underwater footage I collected with my friends in Explorers Cove, Antarctica and highlights one of Christina Bryer's exquisitely fragile porcelain forms, one of my humble bamboo boats (right way up, some of the time ; )) and a balletic sea star, Adamussium colbecki.  

Since submitting the movie, I've been caught up in a bunch of other things and have quite forgotten that part of the contest involves entrants notifying their friends on the web (1) that the contest is a-happening and (2) that Voting is open!  In fact, voting closes tomorrow - 19 July - which means willing participants have only a matter of hours in which to rush over to the Possible Futures website and cast their votes. EEK. . . ! (The deadline explains why I'm posting my Tuesday Poem a day early). 

I'm not much good at canvassing and those sorts of things, but am going to be bold for a moment and invite you please to watch It Is All One Water and - if it resonates with you - to follow this link and give it a 'thumbs up'? Thank you


This is the introductory paragraph I submitted with the vid. . . 

"Painterly and metaphorical in its approach, It Is All One Water addresses the wonder, power & fragility of our world's oceans. 

The ocean is a mighty equalizer – it wraps us around, drawing our continents together. During these times of global disruption, social change and environmental vulnerability, the arts have a key role to play as agents for peace, advocacy and transformation.  This short film carries within it an ethos of 'many as one' and incorporates contributions from a global network of writers, artists, scientists and musicians.'


Timothy Cahill recently posted a thoughtful piece about this film on his blog, Art & Document.

And here - posted with huge thanks to you - is our collaborative poem as it features in the vid. -


In the wide sound of the sea
the song of a vast adventure

a music that follows 
flight paths of blood 
rushing through veins.

And the roar 
of the sea is the roar
of our planet - salt, 
spray, ice, sand, 
each wave a limb 
of the earth. 

The oceans are hoarders 
of holy mysteries, generous 
to a fault; all heaving movement, 
energy and gorgeousness;
life packed into every inch 
and drop of it; ah, its secrecy! 
The way it carries so much 
of the past, the future 
and present in itself… 

Dream of the sea
and from its edge, gaze 
out to the pencil thin 
line of the horizon 
where sky and water are one 

And the sea? 

How it murmurs. 
How it murmurs. . . 

It is all one water. 
A finger in a tide pool 
brings our shores together.

A collaborative poem by Marylinn Kelly (USA), Therese Clear (USA), Pamela Morrison (NZ), Elisabeth Hanscombe (AUS), Kay McKenzie-Cooke (NZ),  Scott Odom (USA) and Claire Beynon (NZ).


For more Tuesday Poems, please click on the quill - 


  1. Lovely, Claire, all of it. I'm trying to vote but they haven't yet caught up with my registration. This is very very exciting--we'll all vote!! Love, M xo

  2. Hi M! Thanks ++ for your support. I wonder if there are others who, like me, left this 'notification bit' to the last moment so that the comp. website's now overloaded with visitors? Ho hum. Silly me ; ). xo

  3. Claire - an exquisite work of art - I managed to register no problem - and left my vote. I've also notified my contacts list!
    Best of luck to you, wonderwoman.

  4. Miriam Louisa - bless you & many thanks. (I'm soooo behind on my correspondence. Will be in touch with you via e- soon? Thanks for your patience. . . ) L, C

  5. 7 minutes to midnight. What a treat to find this! You've again gathered and honoured so many threads / streams - all one water. I'm voting... (just waiting for my confirmation email.) Pxx

  6. Claire- This is just stunning--the music the camera work, the narration (the poem), all of it is utterly beautiful.

    I will follow the link and vote, and hope it's not too late for votes from the USA!

    Best of luck with this. The work you do is moving, and so very important. The world is fortunate to have you as one of its sentinels. :)

  7. This is gorgeous, Claire.
    I love the creature at the end. So alien-like, but to see it moving over the human element, almost giving it a heart and then moving off on its own time, pace.
    And still, I love your voice. It's beautiful.
    I'm excited for all of you who are a part of this. It's lovely.

  8. I love how you draw from us our own connections to the waters, bring us to a halt so we may ponder. From Timothy Cahill's posting, I voted right away. We can just vote once on any video, I believe, or I would have been back many times. Seeing the poem printed out, somehow prompted an even deeper response. "...the song of a vast adventure..." speaks to me of one of my recent concerns, the end of our Space Shuttle and the exploration of space in which we pioneered for so long. Earth's waters are our near-at-hand, great unknown, our microcosm of the infinite and I think of all who have, who still do, set out to discover the mysteries thereof. I hope our song of vast adventure will continue to be sung. xo

  9. I loved this Claire, beautiful narration, the little bamboo boat, the weirdly gorgeous sea star...I voted!

  10. On bended knee, I thank you all for watching, commenting, voting, seeing beyond what's overt to the subtleties here, the 'more' that's about us as much as it is about our oceans. . .

    I'm somewhat frayed around the edges at the moment and I hope you will forgive me for scooping you up in one tired-yet-grateful net. Please know your support is hugely appreciated. I will let you know how we go. . . Meantime, I encourage you to visit the Possible Futures website again so that you can watch a great collection of films.

    Ngiyabonga kakhulu xo