In search of story

May 21.22: Coping, but barely


I have seen Medusa,

been turned to stone;

all I want

is to be alone,

relearn, perhaps,

to feel, and own


Ocean, wind

in husky roar

seem like whisper

to restore

some softening life

into my face

within a granite


Bending low,

the clouds incline

to touch sky forehead

onto mine,

ancient seer,

patient, wise,

whose galaxies




I stood for years

insensate, still,

absent vision, soul,

and will,

while unseen chisels

from unknowns vast

chipped away

my body cast.

When I could move,

I didn’t much,

but cautiously

allowed the touch

of  breeze and mist,

permitted feeling,

holding back,

still not unsealing




There was a time in my life, dear reader, of concentrated loss including caregiving, illness, deaths. After the third death, but not the last, I found myself at the Pacific Ocean, utterly disoriented by the absence of walls. This photo brought to mind that moment.

Thanks to Carolyn Rogers at Wheat Salt Wine and Oil blog for the photo,

part of Dan Antion’s Thursday Doors Writing Challenge.

This post submitted to that same challenge:

Dan Antion’s Thursday Doors Writing Challenge.

Thanks, Dan!

(If you admire doors, dear reader, check out his Thursday Doors blog.

It will take you around the world.)



16 thoughts on “May 21.22: Coping, but barely

  1. Beautiful, Maureen. Life is challenging and gets more so as we age. Instead of talking about trips, weddings, and babies, we’re left with illness and funerals. Seeing the ocean with no boundaries, however, allows one’s mind and body to expand and imagine. These are good things at any age but especially now. Happy Saturday.

    • Indeed mortality looms large at this time of life, but then it has inserted itself earlier in life as if to warn us. So it’s good to have an ocean moment. Or a garden moment. Your word “expand” is a good one because sometimes we get slowly suffocated and we’re not even aware of it because we’re busy coping. It’s very hard, and no mistake.

  2. This is so beautiful, Maureen. It made me sad and hopeful at the same time. Sometimes, we get to a place where it seems the best thing we can do is to get lost in nature. Away from everything that reminds us of a situation. Thank you so much for adding this wonderful poem to our challenge.

  3. This is a great poem, I really enjoyed it.

  4. Such a beautiful poem. Caregiving and loss can take a toll on us. Nature is restorative.

  5. This haunting poem raises many different ideas and feelings, including the idea of poetry as part of the unsealing process. It made me think of this quote: ‘to have become a deeper (wo)man is the privilege of those who have suffered.’

    • That’s a very interesting notion: poetry as an unsealing. I’m sure you’re right. I hope the quote is right too. Thanks, Susan.

  6. Thank you so much for choosing this WSWO photo. Your words express sorrow and hope beautifully. I especially liked the idea of ocean spray softening the calluses that grow on my heart from painful experiences. I’ve often found solace in the power and timelessness of ocean and sky.

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