the writer on the shore

In the old storytime, thousands of years ago, people set sail on unknown oceans. They held up their fingers amongst the heavens, devising a sea-path from star-shine between bone and weathered skin. They watched the waves and listened to the birds.

These days, these mapped and measured days, some people wonder at the courage or fierceness of those earliest adventurers to face such mystery and wild silence. But that's not right, is it? There was no silence - there was watervoice and birdsong, wind telling the way, and the promises given in old, well-remembered verse. As for mystery - oh, but the sea was woven right through with information, and they knew how to see it.




As I sit upon my own shore, my blank screen awaiting words, and I contemplate the vastness that might hold so much possibility or that might ultimately drown me in emptiness, it helps to remember the lessons of those long-ago travelers. I can lift my fingers and see what constellations of light, character, or theme, lie between them. I can listen to the bird-like stirring of my nerves. They sing and stroke against the inside of my skin, a language to shadow the language I would set in type on light, behind the glass of my screen. And I can watch, or feel around me, the rising of certain words, their fall, and their flow again. Bare, elide, unthreaded, oleander, lithe. They move me.

I dream of islands out there. Little books like stones rising from water, from ancient silence. I have never seen them; no one has. They won't exist until I find them. But at least there is an ocean of information to show me the way.

7 comments:

  1. i love the idea of stories being out there, somewhere, waiting perhaps to be called in by someone...

    i love the image of holding up one's hands to the starry sky, finding patterns that way...

    i love the little litany of fine words you had there...they make poems in and of themselves.

    lithe and bare
    she moves among the oleanders
    her unbound hair
    catching as she wanders
    here and there
    raising her hands to the stars
    she seeks old dreams
    sees them here
    elided, unthreaded
    but shining clear.

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  2. such a beautiful photograph
    it perfectly illustrates your words

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  3. Your words are magic, Sarah. I adore Paris and the Seine... but how I miss the sea sometimes.

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