'Fenella' by Jasmine Smith
Updated: Apr 24
Jasmine Smith is a BA Photography with global experience student at Coventry University. Her project 'Fenella' is a combined photography and poetry piece based on the exploration of the ocean.
The female body and nature have been written about in poetry since Ancient Greece, described as embodying comparable features to one another; beauty, grace, purity and fertility. Established on the relationship between goddesses and nature, borrowing traditional elements of femininity collectively. Connections with goddesses’ specific physiognomies, may depend on the stage in life a woman finds herself in. Fenella, the secluded, pearlescent beach where the project was created, therefore refers to nature as the embodiment of characteristics that women are written to embrace. Long established themes of femininity, spoken about in Greek mythology, traditional poetry and the arts are dealt with through the personification of nature as ‘woman’, whose delicate connections to the ocean are depicted through their memories. The women featured, who all grew up surrounded by the ocean, are representatives of the characters described in the poem, allowing for the poetic exploration of femininity in relation to the ocean.
I walked down to the edge of the shore
the sun stretching away from the watery horizon; still rising
The breeze glides along my face,
It tangles itself in my hair so that pale golden waves curl in the air until
It frees itself, and races along the sand,
Leaving behind a rose flush on my cheeks.
I follow it down to the water,
The tide runs up the sand and wraps itself around my ankles,
Clouds of sand swirling around where I walk.
The noise from the rest of the world falls under the crashing waves.
With each breath I can taste the cold;
the microscopic salt crystals landing on my tongue.
The crashes of the waves dispurses the foam into a mist that hangs in the air
And condenses on my skin like morning due,
Until I’m enveloped in a velvet layer of moisture.
Sunlight jumps and flashes,
like embers falling from a fireplace,
the surface a deep turquoise marbled
with the white ribbons of the waves that had already crashed.
Sleepy and quiet,
The last of the sun
turns water into honey;
Radiating a sweet warmth into the air,
And as the moon starts to glow through the rusty haze of sunset,
its pearlestant light reflects and dances along the pebbles,
Turning them into stars,
disappearing behind the gentle flow of water
gliding over their smooth surface as clouds roll across the sky.
The last silhouettes melt into the darkness surrounding the beach,
and eventually I will follow.
I long to stand for a moment longer;
stand against that undying rhythm;
Seeing its gentle change from morning to night.
But the unwavering water will continue to be,
as it has my whole life,
Unchanged by the rolling seasons
of each year that has passed,
And I know I’ll always return.