“The Sea” by James Reeve

Reciting poetry using sound effects, evocative images on powerpoint slides, carefully chosen costumes, gestures and strong vocal control can be a powerful experience for an audience.  It is often entertainment at its best. How can we best perform the following poem?

The Sea
  The sea is a hungry dog,
Giant and grey.
He rolls on the beach all day.
With his clashing teeth and shaggy jaws

Hour upon hour he gnaws

The rumbling, tumbling stones,
And ‘Bones, bones, bones, bones! ‘
The giant sea-dog moans,
Licking his greasy paws.

And when the night wind roars
And the moon rocks in the stormy cloud,
He bounds to his feet and snuffs and sniffs,
Shaking his wet sides over the cliffs,
And howls and hollos long and loud.

But on quiet days in May or June,
When even the grasses on the dune
Play no more their reedy tune,
With his head between his paws
He lies on the sandy shores,

So quiet, so quiet, he scarcely snores.



14 responses

  1. The poem “The Sea” by James Reeves uses a dog to represent the ever flowing ocean, th hunger and devistation of the ocean and it constat changes. When I presented this poem I sdressed up as a dog ownder nd held a leash to signify that I was describing a dog. Throughout the poem I used voice modolation and accented words such as “clashing, “bones” and “rumbling”. On the Last stanza I softened my voice to signify calmness.I used gestures thoguutout the poem using larger gesturesin the first to third stanza where my voice was stroger and then used smaller gestures in the last stanza and a softer voice.

  2. Throughout my performance of “The Sea” I used a variety of techniques to enhance my performance and captivate the interest on the Audience. While I was walking onto the performance area I had a harsh wind blowing to give the listener an idea of the type of mood this poem is set in. As I started the poem I used a deep voice which was accompanied with rushed, sharp hand gestures to signify the harshness of the sea. I also took a seat on a small, man-made, dune which was contained in a glass box. It also had water which was moving back and forth due to a fan being repeatedly turned on and off, creating a sea like movement. Finally while I was saying the line ‘Hour upon Hour he gnaws’ I used a harsh snappy tone to symbolise a barking dog.

  3. I showed pictures of the sea in dark and angry photos with stormy skies to make the poem more dramatic. I didn’t use pictures of a dog even though that was what the poem was talking about because I believed it would have constrained the audience’s imagination. I left the idea of a dog to the thoughts of the audience because a poem is to take you on a journey but, that journey different to everyone. I used the sound of the waves crashing with the volume down because if you didn’t hear me what’s the point, the music cut out around the last stanza because the mood was to be changed, along with the hand movements. I started the hand movements very dramatic and sharp but as the last stanza came they changed to a more soft and fitting mood. I wore all black for the idea that it might capture the audience as the main deal of the poem when real is the least important part. These are the reasons my poem was presented that way.

    Laura Hatton

    During my performance of ‘The Sea’ by James Reeves I used many different effects and gestures to enhance the playful, but occasionally serious mood of the poem.

    I dressed in ‘beach gear’, such as shorts, thongs, a hat and sunglasses to show that the character is familiar with the sea.

    The performance was opened with a large picture of a beach landscape on the screen and the sound over waves crashing was in the background. Throughout the presentation other images, such as a dog and stormy clouds were used as visual representations of what was happening in the poem.

    I also used many gestures and voice effects to make the poem come alive for the audience. I growled the repetition of the word ‘bones’ and jumped in the line ‘bounds to his feet’. The last stanza was read slowly and quietly to show the change in mood form playful to serious, and for extra effect the last line was whispered.

    These effects made the poem more realistic and entertaining to the audience and highlight the similarities between the sea and a dog.

  5. During my poem, I used a power point with harsh, dark pictures of the sea trasitioning into a relaxing picture of the sea on a beutiful day to allow the audience to picture scene and feeling of the poem. I chose harsh music which then transitions into calm music because the rhythm of the poem begins harsh, and in the last stanza changes to calm and gentle. The costumes I chose to wear were mostly black and grey, with a hint of blue and purple to add a sense of harsh and calm. The sounds I had in the background were of a dog barking, waves crashing on the shore, wind blowing and silence. I chose these because I believe they will help the audience to understand the meaning of the poem, and allow them to hear the sounds that the author was telling us about. The way I spoke during my performance went from harsh, sharp and clear words to gentle, calm and relaxed words because that is what the poem’s mood is.

    • At the beginning of my performance, beach wave noises were playing to set the scene for the audience. Then I acted as a dog to interpreate a large, scary rolling and clashing. For the second stanza, I pretended to knaw a toy bone. The lights were dimmed to represent the night and a picture of a moon was the backdrop. I jumped to my feet, shaking my body and projeced my voice. The transition from a loud voice to soft was to calm the audience. Finally I whisper the last line and slow down to finish the poem.

  6. During my performance of “The Sea” by James Reeves, I wore a grey top and pants because in the poem it says the sea is like a hungry grey dog. Throughout the poem I slowly walked along the front of the room and in certain stanza’s such as ‘when the night wind roars’ I would quicken my pace. Beside me, on a table, a container filled with salty water. The idea was for the smell of salty water to fill the room with the fragrance of the ocean. Behind me was a PowerPoint presentation of continual pictures and sounds of birds, the sea, a dog playing in the sand, tumbling stones, stormy clouds and the wind. I used a bone as a prop in the line ‘And ‘Bones, bones, bones, bones!’’. I used arm gestures in the lines ‘with head between paws’ to show how the dog put his head between his paws. Thank you for watching my performance of “The Sea”.
    By Nikki

  7. In my performance of “The Sea” by James Reeve, I dressed in all grey with a blue cloak. The blue cloak represents the beautiful side of the sea and the grey represents the harsh, deadly side. As I entered I said in a nice voice, “The Sea”, then in a fierce voice “is a hungry dog.” I did this to set the mood of the angry sea and to show how it can turn on you.
    In the PowerPoint a picture of a scary dog came up and a scary bark was herd. This was done to arouse emotion on how scary the sea is. During my presentation many pictures related to the poem were accompanied by a related sound. There were “snuffs and Sniffs”, a “reedy tune”, and a “scary snore” were all used add an effect to the poem.
    I used quite fierce and sharp body language, just like the sea. I used many actions to create a visual effect: head between his paws, I rolled my head to show the rolling waves, and bound my feet just like the “dog”.
    All of what I did was done to create a visual and intriguing performance. A performance that the audience was able to engage with.

    by Bella

  8. During my peformance of “The Sea” by James Reeves, I used various sound effects, gestures, photos in a power point and altered the volume and expression of my voice to enhance the performance of the poem. The sound effects I used included ocean noises to set the scene, a howling dog to reiterate the line “And howls and hollows long and loud.” ( Line 14) and the sound of whistling wind to accompany the line “And when the night wind roars” (Line 10). Some of the gestures I used included rubbing my tummy to demonstrate “The sea is a hungry dog,” (Line 1), pretending to lick my hands to go with “Licking his greasy paws.” (Line 9) and a small jumping motion to give the impression of bounding in the third stanza. I performed the first stanza with a loud and strong voice then I gradually got softer until finally I whispered the last line “So quiet, so quiet, he scarcely snores.” (Line 20).

  9. In my performance of “The Sea” by James Reeve, I used a powerpoint showing the sea in one half of the slide and a fierce dog in the other half to compare the two. I used the actions described in the poem such as sniffing and licking paws to enhance the effect. I raised my voice at the start when it says rumbling ans lowers my voice when it says quiet. I also used a various sounds such as the barking of the dog, however not loudly as to cover the preformance. Each done to enhance the effect of the poem and the comparison between the dog and the sea.Thank you.

  10. Throughout my poetry performance, I used a viariety of vocal dynamics, gestures, emphasis on certain words and a powerpoint with pictures/sounds to display mood and tension to the audience. The first stanza represents the sea as an animal. I emphasized “hungry” to clearly point out how the dog is described. In the background I played the sound of waves crashing on the rocks. Furthermore, I raised my arms like a monster on “giant” to symbolise largness. Again I emphasized “rumbling” and “tumbling” to show the adjectives. I also increased my pace and volume on the 3rd stanza, which displays the violent and dramatic sea. I changed the sound effect to a thuderous sea to intensify the mood. I also bounced up on “bounds” and sniffed on “Snuffed and sniffed” to engage the audience. At the end of the 3rd stanza, I increased my voice on “loud” to show the contrast between the next stanza. The final stanza is the sea being “calm” and “soothing”so I slowed down my speech and softened my voice. For the very last sentece I whisepered to symbolise the silence of the sea, so that the sound of the seagulls and sea breeze can be heard.

  11. While I performed the poem “The Sea” by James Reeves, I used certain techniques to enhance my performance. On my powerpoint, I had images of a dog howling and skull and crossbones to represent the feeling and sound of he sea during a stprm and to illustrate the metaphor “With his clashing teeth and shaggy jaws… And bones, bones, bones!”The sounds I have chosen are specifically used to help the listener feel the intensity of the storm but the softer beach sounds at the end to calm the reader and to realise how beautiful and peacefull the sea can be. I dressed in a simple, long, grey overcoat to represent the cold, grey environment in which the poem starts. But underneath, I am wearing a colourful, bright sun dress to show the happiness of the beach at the end.

  12. During my performance of the poem called “the sea” I included techniques through sound, images, vocal control, and gestures to enhance the change of mood throughout the poem and emphasise words that are spoken more forcefully.
    As I was preparing to present the poem, sounds of an ocean were played. The sounds were gradually turned down and when they could no longer be heard I began reading the poem. This would instantly give the audience an idea of what my poem is about and would grab their attention.
    My voice altered volume several times during the poem and I spoke some words louder to emphasise the feelings displayed in that word. I used gestures and movement to keep the audience’s attention.
    On the PowerPoint I had images of the beach that were showing comparison to what was said about the beach in the poem. This gave the audience a mental image of what the beach looked like and made the poem more entertaining. The last picture is of a sleeping dog on the beach which reminds the audience of the metaphor the poem is based on showing the similarities between the dog and the beach. All of these techniques used, helped the audience keep up with the changes of mood and understand the ideas included in the poem.

  13. the sea by j.reeves is a great nature poem which emphasis the nature of the sea.According to his poem,the poet has used a very effective and simple language to express his feelings about the sea.He has used a metophor to convey his ideas more vividly.In this poem,the poet has compared the sea to a massive,hungry dog.This poem,THE SEA is a poem which highly stresses the two aspects of nature.

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