Posts Tagged ‘ocean’

There is in each of us an ocean
full of secrets strange and luminous,
an ocean with depths we do not understand,
with dark we often fear,
a place almost impossible to visit
and yet it moves with us
everywhere we go,
informs every conversation,
underlies every thought.
There is treasure there,
but it belongs to the depths
the way the heart
belongs to the body.
Everything depends on this.
Lately, I’m learning to think of treasure
only as a verb,
not as a thing to be taken.
I’m learning that to live
is to be an ocean.

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for Kayleen

As the tide rose and the waves grew nearer,
she took a stick and drew in the sand
a small labyrinth. In the center
she placed a dried tangle of roots,
some sodden gray feathers,
and the broken open shells of oysters.
White stone at the entrance.
Warm sun on our skin.
On the short path, we wrote with a stick
the names of people and places we longed to heal.
All around us the whirling of dark sea birds
seeking higher places to land.
All around us the sound of waves crashing on rocks,
sound of cliffs slowly eroding into sand.

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Wading into the ocean of grief,
I feel how the tides tug
at the story of how I arrived here—
the waves don’t tear my story away,
no, but float its fabric around me
till I wear it more loosely
and meet the raw self inside the story.
How many of us are here
in these waters learning
new ways to swim?
Already we’re deeper, deeper in.
Though it is a terrible gift to be here,
I fall in love with us all,
with our common humanity.
How sweet it is to meet each other
with our vulnerability glittering on our skin,
our bodies more buoyant
than we ever dreamed.

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In this deep sea of grief,
it is hard to trust
my own buoyancy—
great waves break on me,
take my breath away,
I’m submerged by loss,
yet with so little effort
I rise. Just by being alive,
I rise. So I splutter.
So I’m graceless.
So I cannot see the shore.
But my friend reminds me,
there’s no way
that I can do this wrong.
So I let myself be carried
by currents unknown,
and each time I breathe—
I feel myself rise.
With so little effort,
I rise.

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lyrics from "The Tide Is High" by John Holt, 1967
Something about the unsinkable reggae beat,
and in just three notes, I’m again my young self,
dancing alone in my bedroom,
singing as if I am one with the song,
as if it were written just for me,
I’m not the kind of girl
who gives up just like that, oh no, oh!
And singing it now on a Sunday afternoon,
I’m caught in a surprise riptide of joy
and start to lilt around the room,
though just moments ago I was weeping,
buried beneath the salt of worry,
but here I am, dancing alone,
hips rocking, my shoulders a rolling sea,
my voice surfing above the bright swell of trumpets.
The tide is high but I’m holding on.
Sometimes a song is a lifeline,
not because it pulls me out of the water,
but because it tosses me deeper in,
and I feel I’m no longer trapping myself
in a life the size of a teacup—
no, in this moment I am oceanic,
an Atlantic of joy, a Pacific of wonder
vast enough to hold everything,
and the tide is high
and all that salt only makes me more buoyant
as I play in the generous waves.

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deep desert canyon of the heart—

it remembers when

it was ocean



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One Disentanglement



casting a broken net—

I catch no fish,

but oh, the pull of the sea

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In the empty kitchen I read

your letter out loud,

try to speak in your tones

as if I might trick my ears,

but there are too many waves

in my voice, I can hardly keep my head

above the water, they are deep

the tides between here and there.

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And the Winner Is

Sometimes I would rather not know love.
I would rather not know that the pearl
is born of an irritation. I tell myself
I do not want iridescence. I do not need
one more beautiful thing to collect
on a string. I make love so small. But love
arrives anyway, less pearl and more current,
more tide, more sea. Immeasurable, though I try
to measure. Unknowable, though I want
to know. It is full of dark and cold and deep
deep places where I will likely never go.
It is only the surface that knows the light.
Is it so wrong to be afraid? Sometimes
I would rather not know love. Damn this day of tears.
But that is when the invitation is most clear.
There is a wrestling inside, love versus pride,
a match I must be willing to enter, even though
I know the only way to win is to lose.

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Through the Hourglass

It disappears, the shell,
just as you reach to pick
it up. The wave, indifferent

to value, draws it in.
The shell is more precious then.
Because it is gone.

Like when a dear one dies. It doesn’t matter
if it were a surprise or something
expected. Suddenly, the last time

we saw them alive—maybe
holding a peach or sitting
in a chair—it doesn’t matter

how simple the moment was,
we replay it with a golden hue,
as if every second of listening

to bird songs or talking
about the day’s events
were precious. Remember the scent?

Remember the light as it fell just so?
Remember how normal it was.
As the normal is precious—

sitting under a tree, or walking
the beach choosing stones,
or washing dishes, making the bed,

or eating oatmeal with blueberries,
or answering the phone to hear
the other person say hello.

How easy, how impossible
to reach now for what never can be held.
For a moment we think we have it,

but our hands come up with only sand
and what’s left of the tide running
through the our fingers.

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