Belfast Lough

Where do you go to, my friend,
when all else you’ve tried has failed,
when you feel you need restore
again calmness to your soul.

I go, sir, to the ocean,
to the side of Belfast Lough,
and stand there in that same place
I’ve stood many times before.

Inhale a history, my own,
that’s present in the breeze.
Exhale my current problems,
let them join now with my past,

pick up a stone and skim it,
let it skip across the waves.


49 Responses to “Belfast Lough”

  1. Simply wonderful David. You already know how I feel about this painting so I need say no more, and coupled with such beautiful words, makes this, for me, one of the most beautiful things you have created

    Love you loads



  2. christine lanham Says:

    Superbly beautiful David

  3. Hi David,

    this is really exciting! Your painting is absolutely perfect, the sober, natural colours give it a reality while lifting above it, that is striking and I love the way you did the figure (I think it is you, the head is yours?) . This is going to be such a wonderful series! 🙂

    The poem also has so much in layers, as it has so much meaning, and the one question answered to the ‘sir’. Though many remain unanswered, the poem has the answers inclosed somehow.

    I think this is the best of your work (sofar!)

    Like you I find the sea a good listener. I will try doing that stone skimming, although there are no pebbles here on the beach 🙂 , exhaling current problems and taking deep breaths!

    Arohanui 🙂


    • Thank you Ina,

      Your enthusiasm provides me with great encouragement. (And thank you too for including it in your ‘poems from the sea’ series)

      The figure is indeed me. 🙂

      The poem and the painting are trying to capture that moment of peace which comes when the world is reduced to the moment – the sea, the stone and the skips.

      The trick, of course, is to find the right size and shape of stone – the particular beach I was on has plenty of them 🙂

      Enjoy your congress with the ocean. 🙂


      • Hi David,

        I am very pleased my enthusiasm gives you encouragement 🙂 It means you will make many more such beautiful paintings!

        To be in that moment is the trick 🙂 I think. The size of the stone is too, of course!

        My congress: I tried to skimm yesterday when I was at the beach (the waddenzee-side, where many shells lay) I found a little stone but I couldn’t get ít to skim. My father was good at it, and I remembered him doing so, which was a lovely memory 🙂


      • Hi Ina,

        Your enthusiasm and encouragement means a great deal to me Ina.

        If the poem and painting brought back that memory of your father I am delighted.

        Do you think there is a gender thing about skimming stones? 🙂


      • I definetely think it is a sight thing. It would be nice to be more sure of where the water starts lol. I am not sure it is a gender thing. Once, in Sweden, there was a girl who could do more than 6 skimmings! 🙂

      • Big 🙂

        6 skimmings is good

  4. Love this, David – both the art and the writing!

  5. I used to love skimming stones over the waves, so I know that feeling you get of forgetting yourself, of tranquillity. Nothing seems to matter except the number of bounces, does it? Totally absorbed in the activity – and that’s just it really, the perfect answer to the stressed-out mind. Your poem’s spot on.

    • What a lovely comment.

      Thank you John – To this day I find it difficult to resist looking for stones to skim when I am on the beach.
      And when I am in the particular place depicted in the painting it is impossible not to pick up a stone and skim it 🙂


  6. I know how the ocean heals my friend.. a wonderful piece

  7. Lovely poem and painting David.

    I think the view is from the top of the Cavehill, would i be right.

  8. David the view must be from the top of the Cavehill.

    Lovely picture and poem.

    • I can understand Harry how you would think that.

      You will have looked across the Lough from that side much more often than I have.
      The County Down side is where most of my memories reside 🙂


  9. Wow,is that your painting David?? It’s bloody marvelous!! Is there anything you can’t do??Love skimming stones,and seeing the splashes!! A wonderful,tranquil write!! Hug,and then,another!!

  10. Such a powerful feeling for so many of us — I too am called to the sea. Lovely painting, as well!

  11. I can almost feel the heat of the sun ray pouring askew on my back.
    The next time I find myself breathing shallow, I would like to recall the image created by the words of this poem. Thank you.

    Ayano xxx.

    • What a lovely comment.

      Thank you Ayano.

      In reality I live quite a long way from the ocean – so I do need to find ways to allow me to go there in my head.
      Now I can look at this painting and induce the feeling I get when I am there. 🙂


  12. Great poem David. I could almost feel the healing & relief it brought to you…& things like this invigorate & calm me, too (:

    • Thank you Jeff,

      Nature provides us with real opportunities to restore ourselves.
      I only have to look at your photographs to know how much you you get from walking through it.

      My very best to you my friend


  13. A beautiful, beautiful poem, David – like all your best work, it’s outwardly simple, yet perfectly crafted, multi-layered and shot through with humour and pathos in equal measure. Now, tell me: just how is it fair that you can draw brilliantly as well???!!! N.

    • Big 🙂

      Thank you Nick,
      The painting is a new venture – inspired by David Hockney.
      I have no idea where it will lead me – but I am thoroughly enjoying the journey


  14. Love the artwork, as it so beautifully doubles the meaning of your wonderful lines about revisiting that calm, lovely place on the lough. Seabreezes are so wonderful in the way they blow away our cares.

    • Thank you Granbee,

      That particular place has long been a place of solace for me.
      It seemed important to me that it should be one of the first places I painted.


  15. This is very peaceful and another of your poems I would like to hear you read. I can imagine it being read with the sound of the sea in the background. I like the resolution at the end of ‘letting go’. It goes without saying that your artwork is just lovely and very skilful; you have a real talent.

  16. If you skip stones into memory
    and memories rise out of the waves
    into a peace that really comes from inside,
    but seems to come from the act of throwing stones
    along with your problems
    into deep waters,
    then the history of who you are rises
    into words and words into lines
    that dissolve into images
    idyllic upon a beach
    that only you can really know.

  17. I love this, David – the sea is always the place that recharges me, feeds my soul. This is really beautiful!

  18. Francina Says:

    beautiful combination in word and painting , David! skipping stones is a good way to let go of thoughts , me think 🙂

    Ciao, Francina

    • Thank you Francina,

      Skimming stones (‘skimming’ in some parts of the world, ‘skipping in others’ 🙂 ) is an almost perfect occupation for ‘living in the moment’ 🙂


  19. Anna Mark Says:

    I carry the ocean in me as a great source, but it is there mainly through memory. I’d love to live close to it, to skip a stone on its surface, to swim in it on warmer days…to feel its salty fire on my limbs.

  20. Hi David,

    BIG 🙂 Your painting is just wonderful and certainly reveals those hidden talents that have been waiting to spring forth! 🙂
    It sits perfectly with your most beautiful poem that is as calm as the still waters of the Lough in your painting.

    You’ve expressed wonderfully that restorive effect that those special places can have upon us. Letting go of thoughts and emotions is a good thing to do sometimes. 🙂
    This poem and your painting with it are a depp breath to me. A space of calm and peace that allows one to go back into the fray of living a little better for havng taken the time to skip a stone and pause.

    Thank you for sharing your most serene talents in word and image.
    My day will be all the more peaceful for having paused here with you.

    and K’OTC 🙂

    • Thank you Tikarma,

      If I have caused you to pause and take a deep breath, then the poem and the painting have worked 🙂

      When I was deciding what I wanted to paint this image leapt out at me and demanded to be painted. The activity of painting it invoked in me the same sense of calm I get when skimming stones. (Well, almost 🙂 )

      Thank you too for your continued support. I found your last email tremendously encouraging.
      Particularly your remark about “real painters”. Point taken. Thank you for it!! 🙂

      I hope you are having a good week

      and K’sOTC 🙂

  21. i never could get the hang of stone-skipping

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