Enlightenment, Life, Poetry, Transformative Experience

Roots in the Sea

It’s curious how some of us are coconuts.
Seeds drifting for decades in a desert
That holds nothing for us, except waves
And more waves, and storms we survive
Only because our shells are thick and hard.

Inside we may be milk and fruit,
But to the waves, to the sharks, and sea snakes
We are walls, unappetizing walls.

We’re well protected, it’s true,
But we’re not alive either. Not really.
Only in name — and this can go on
For decades, even decades without living.

Then we beach! Most of us never do.

A shoot grows from us, reaches for sunlight,
Turns green with youth, with beauty, with dreams.
Though we might be old, very old, when that happens.
Another shoot grows from us, too.
Grows down deep where fresh waters pool,
Waiting to renew our souls.

Curious how when we at last come alive
The first thing we do is break out of our shells,
Make ourselves open and vulnerable.

Until the moment we beached
We were passive; our wisdom, just DNA and chance,
Though we told ourselves we were captains
Of great ships shaping their own destiny.

But only later on the beach are we alive.
Only on the beach do we flourish.

But I have a few questions now…

How did we know without any experience
We were at last on the beach?

Why did we never try
To put down roots in the sea?

Or did some of us try,
And they were those who never
Made it ashore?

16 thoughts on “Roots in the Sea”

  1. Paul that was a wonderfully symbolic poem! I love the image of us being coconuts and our hard shells being our barriers. That really was a nice poem! In my mind it was very colourful, light blue seas, very sunny, and the beach utopic. When we do break our shells, either we drown in an unforgiving environment, or in a nurturing environment, like the beach. I see these environments and friends and family.


    1. I see this one as more hopeful.

      I think you’re right people erect walls, barriers out of fear. But to me, the irony is they will suffer for it, and greatly. In fact, I think they actually more or longer with their barriers barring them from love than they would suffer without those barriers barring them from a relatively lesser pain.


  2. It’s a very unique talent – to be able to write a story with an open ending or a question to the reader. It always makes me feel as if we’re part of the story and are having an actual interaction with the author. This was a beautiful piece – the symbolism, the style, the wonder and the mystery. Loved it! 🙂


  3. I liked this one; this was a nice metaphor.

    Until the moment we beached
    We were passive; our wisdom, just DNA and chance,
    Though we told ourselves we were captains
    Of great ships shaping their own destiny.

    I wonder how much of us coming alive on the beach is also just DNA and chance?


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