Thursday, 12 January 2012

"To The Oak Leaved Delesseria"

One of the wonderful things about writing the Seashore book is that it allows me the opportunity to read & research some lovely old historical books as inspiration. When I am on target with my own mini deadlines, I offer myself the treat of heading off to the Marine Biological Association to dive into their library and get lost in their books new and old.

Yesterday, I did just that. A book caught my eye, "Ocean Flowers and Their Teachings" 1846. It had a beautiful gilt illustration on the cover and some well preserved seaweed presses inside. It also had a collection of poems and thoughts about the "ocean flowers" or seaweeds.

A couple of days ago I had tweeted about my favourite Red Seaweed - the Sea Beech Delesseria sanguinea. Well, in the book of "Ocean Flowers" I stumbled across this rather beautiful poem which I had to share:

To the Oak Leaved Delesseria

Tell me, thou child of ocean,
With thy ensanguined fronds,
Nursed by the wave's commotion,
And fixed by rooted bonds:

Why is such beauty lavish'd
In caves of ocean dark,
From human vision banish'd
Such texture fair to mark?

Say, do the sea-nymphs find thee,
Thy roseate leaves unfold,
And round their tresses bind thee,
As oaken wreaths of old?

Like roses here on earth
Do they thy beauty prize,
As flowers of Heavenly birth,
Emblems of brighter skies?

Short sighted mortal, shame thee!
Don't think that beauty gleam
Where man alone must see it,
Or where he useful deems?

No brilliant hues are needed
To deck the sea-nymphs hair,
But beauty springs unheeded
Throughout creation fair.

Our God is love abounding
Has thus his mind display'd,
With beauty all surrounding
The Creatures he has made.

J.Mackness, M.D. Hastings.