I stood beside the ocean once
And dared the waves to drown me
Toes nestled below the sand
Sinking further with the tide
I did not move
But the world moved around me.
The swells and crashes
Just beyond my reach
Roared against the sky in a game
I could not understand
And did not dare to join
But the world spun around me.
Nearly invisible spheres of water
Jumped from the fray
To cover my face one lick at a time
Until drenched my eyes and hair
Pulled me closer to the earth
But the world danced around me.
Foaming at the mouth like a rabid dog
Salt-filled gifts from places
Dark and rolling with darker tones
Stumbled toward my knees
And buckled me into the shore
But the world pushed around me.
Without becoming any more fierce
And not with a call to war or anger
The ocean pushed closer
Like a drowning man clawing toward
The horizon and I waited
But the world melted around me.
It meant me no harm
I was a stranger to the swells
And standing small before the darkness
I asked, “Why haven’t you heard me?”
The ocean smiled and I stood still
But the world leapt around me.
I fought a war inside my mind
And all the soldiers writhed in sweat
The battles long with rising smoke
Unseen and big but small
I sat instead of dying, marveling at the moon
And the world breathed around me.
—Jill Szoo Wilson
(Photo credit: This poem was inspired by German painter Heiko Müller‘s piece, God of Thunder (and Rock and Roll), http://www.heikomueller.de)