Sea Song

by Jenny Berkel

Blue-winged hum billowing
through a flood of holy,
holy, holy. There is a resonance
cast down deep within hook what is
downcast. There is a part
of me that puzzles
into shapes, ebbing and diaphanous
as sea foam. There is a sound
that catches. It is a net I am
a fish it is a line I am
a fish it is a spear I am
a fish
          Deep unto deep,
          ocean unto ocean,
          blue unto blue. Rare
as the bright blue lobster clattering
its claws against a cage, behemoth
as the blue whale pressed into the belly
of the sea. There is a sea
wall split within.

Composers' Note:

With "Sea Song" by Jenny Berkel the rather obvious path was to use the hymn "Holy, Holy, Holy," in some way. We did exactly that. A recording of the hymn by Montréal vocal ensemble One Equall Musick became our primary material, and from there we manipulated the sound inspired by the imagery of the hymn, such as "All the saints adore Thee / Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea" and the imagery of Berkel's poem, like "Shapes, ebbing and diaphanous as sea foam."

(Listen to the composition by Adrian Foster and Joel Peters inspired by Jenny's poem.)


Jenny Berkel is a poet, singer, and songwriter based in London, Ontario. Her most recent album is Pale Moon Kid.