Poseidon Laughs (Thursday Doors)

Restless, this sea–
rising, falling–
no boundaries.
It has always
been so—always.
Man builds, rebuilds,
makes his own map.
Poseidon laughs.
The wind surges,
the waves reclaim–
restless, this sea.

We stayed in the town of Rodanthe on Hatteras Island this year. It was in the news in May when two houses collapsed into the ocean after a storm.

The section where we were staying was primarily year-round residents, so the houses were mostly set back, away from the dunes. But walking up and down the beach we could see many houses practically in the water, or sometimes actually in the water at high tide. While we were there, the aqua house above was fenced off in preparation for its removal. The house next door had already been taken down.

Here’s one being held up by scaffolding.

When we first started going to the Outer Banks, 35 years ago, the houses were small, and built well off the beach. Now the new houses are all huge, with a premium fee for being right by the ocean. But the coast on a barrier island is always in flux, even without the hurricanes that are becoming more frequent.

Part of the island is a protected wildlife refuge, and the shoreline is managed by the National Park Service, but it’s difficult to control the strain caused by the continued private development. Tourism is the main source of tax revenue for the island, so the local government is not willing to put any brakes on it.

Shoring up the dunes with more sand is expensive and temporary. There will always be more storms.

This is low tide–you have to swim through at high tide.

You can see the houses falling into the ocean here:


My poem is for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, where Yvette Calleiro selected a form that Gwen Plano created, called the 4-11, for us to try.

And, as always, find more doors here with host Dan Antion.

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About memadtwo

For more madness, follow me on Instagram @h_zimel methodtwomadness is a blog of two friends, Nina and Kerfe kblog is Kerfe's solo branch on the tree

69 responses to “Poseidon Laughs (Thursday Doors)”

  1. Dan Antion says :

    Nothing is going to hold back the ocean. I’ve watched documentaries about people rebuilding after hurricanes. Stronger, higher, but not far enough back in my mind. I can’t imagine what insurance costs for one of those homes.

    Liked by 3 people

    • memadtwo says :

      That’s true Dan. I wonder if they can even get insurance. In NYC you can only get flood insurance if you’re on high ground. I’m sure there are plenty of disclaimers and attachments to any policy available.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. D. Avery @shiftnshake says :

    Poseidon laughs and snacks on houses around Nantucket too. And yet they build.
    What a refreshing take on the Thursday doors! And the poem is perfect.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. harmonykentonline says :

    A wonderful take on the Thursday doors and TankaTuesday challenges! Love it, Kerfe 💕🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. merrildsmith says :

    Poseidon laughs indeed. It’s terrifying to watch the sea carry these houses away.
    I’m glad you had a great beach vacation though.
    I didn’t realize what the form was till you mentioned it. You make every form your own.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Aletha Kuschan says :

    What a beautiful place to vacation. The ocean is so nurturing of creativity. Your poem is marvelous. The ocean has its pull upon man and we are drawn there: that in us which also has no boundaries feels its connection to the vastness of the sea.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. SelmaMartin says :

    Such a lovely poem. Restless the sea.
    Rodanthe had to look it up. NC. I see. Those houses are way too close to the water. Daringly so.
    Very picturesque location but bet the inhabitants are always worried.
    Thanks for the lovely poem. Blessings. Xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  7. neil reid says :

    Had to remind myself, there actually are some “doors” here. More transfixed by the legs, bare bones more rightly said. Remember, do most of us?, as youngsters on the beach, building sand castle forts, moats and walls, all to resist the tide. And we lose always, always. But more fun than these abominations. We are not that smart. Though consistently too, your photography is splendid.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Suzette Benjamin says :

    Fabulous bright photos. Yes, the sea is always willing and waiting to reclaim its own.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. melaniereynolds says :

    This is very interesting to read from the perspect of someone who has been there. I wonder if there is any kind of plant that lived in the area that could be put back to help reduce the rate of erosion, like mangroves. I don’t know if mangroves go up that far, but that was part of the problem for Souther states that removed lots of mangroves to create million-dollar beach sand views. Here in Washington state we have very rocky beaches, but they are still eroding with sea-level rise. Maybe it is already too late and retreat is the only best solution.

    Liked by 1 person

    • memadtwo says :

      I’m sure there were never mangroves here. The wildlife refuge has never been developed, but its shores keep changing too. And the growth there is all low to the ground. It’s a barrier island…that’s what happens. Why all the locals live in the widest parts of the island, often soundside.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. boundlessblessingsblog says :

    Interesting Thursday doors and tanka, Marta.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Gwen M. Plano says :

    Wonderful, Kerfe, and beautiful photos. I love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. msjadeli says :

    Kerfe, you covered the issue so well in your poem, images, and captions. The jurisdictions let them build, knowing they will fall in, but each one of them is a cash cow in its own way. Thank goodness nature will be a limiting factor to our madness. We see the same thing along Lake MI.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. D. Wallace Peach says :

    Posiedon does laugh and always has, Kerfe. I wonder at the cheek of people who build so close to the sea. Do they think they’re immune to changes in climate? It’s sad to see those homes come down, but not surprising. Wonderful poem that captures the endless cycle.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Claudia McGill says :

    I’ve always wanted to live near the ocean. I think of a place my family rented in Florida in the early 1960’s, way back of the dunes (I remember the walk to the beach). Today it’s all built right to the water, I see. Well, the ocean is still there and the salty wonderful smell of it. And closer to home, I think of the NJ shore. My husband still talks about how much it has changed since his childhood vacations there. Anyway, I think your words and photos give pause for reflection on how once again, we people think we control things, but we don’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. dennyho says :

    The North Carolina shores are beautiful and everchanging. We have a house on the ICW in Holden Beach and enjoy the flotilla of boats, shrimpers, yachts passing our home throughout the year. I’ve heard there were once front row homes on the ocean side of Holden that now are gone. Interestingly, we just finished a lengthy beach extension project yielding a deeper beach for us to enjoy. BUT, we’ve not seen the turtle nests as in year’s past. I’m anxious to get back in a few weeks to hopefully see a few nests in the upper sands.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. rothpoetry says :

    A great poem to show man’s foolish endeavors. Nature is alway laughing at us!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Sun Hesper Jansen says :

    Perfect poem and a thought-provoking travelogue. That video… Is it just my dark imagination that makes it seem as if that first house is willingly and wearily staggering out into Poseidon’s arms?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. robertawrites235681907 says :

    Great pictures, Kerfe, and a lovely poem. A lot of people do not understand the power of the ocean.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Bela Johnson says :

    Wow. And yes. The ocean has a will of its own! 🌊

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Ingrid says :

    ‘The foolish man built his house upon the sand…’

    Liked by 1 person

  21. D.L. Finn, Author says :

    You captured how powerful the sea is and what little choice we have as things change.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. yvettemcalleiro says :

    I love your poem, Kerfe! I have great respect for Poseidon and his mood swings. I visit the beach almost every weekend, but I’ve never wanted to live on it. Not only do you risk the destruction of your home from hurricanes, but the salt water ages your car quickly. And let’s not talk about the maintenance fees! Lol! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Colleen Chesebro: WordCraftPoetry says :

    Holy Buckets! I’ve read the oceans are rising from all of the ice melt in the Arctic. The Outer Banks have always had these issues, I think. What I really loved about your poem is how you linked Poseidon as the god of the seas. Lovely imagery in my mind… It looks like you had a great vacation. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  24. margaret21 says :

    Oh, that ocean reclaiming its rights! Your verse and photos tell the story perfectly.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. indishe says :

    So truly stated.
    Sea reclaims what we take from her.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Prior... says :

    I like your poem a lot
    And your thoughts about tourism and the temporary homes (because storms will come and go)
    And how wonderful that you have vacationed here for 35+ years – such a beautiful spot to refresh

    Your post reminded me of being in destin fl in 2004 – we were there for a wedding and it was right after a storm – there was so much beach debris – I wish I had taken more photos – I did keep a few pieces of signs and found some sea scraps – but got rid of it all a few years later
    But a true reminder that we cannot take the sea

    Liked by 1 person

  27. phillip woodruff says :

    pure folly, you capture it so well in your poem. that image of the big house on stilts leaning, i think they call that hubris…very well said… very very =)

    Liked by 1 person

  28. ben Alexander says :

    Poseidon in mythology was really quite vengeful! I’ve been reading a bit about him recently – this poem is totally spot on – and that’s a really scary situation, Kerfe! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Vashti Q says :

    It’s a beautiful area to vacation in. In man vs nature, nature always wins. Man is so arrogant to think otherwise. I LOVE your poem! 👏🥰

    Liked by 1 person

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