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)