One Single Impression: Chaos


From the formless void
The clean, sharp light of dawn
Circumscribes the sea

That once

Very nearly

Claimed my daughter and me
In one great swallow.

Now and again
I see that grey wall of water
Rising to engulf us.

I see my daughter
Opening her mouth to breathe
Only to claim water.

I watch her swim.
I swim with her.

I push her away
From the indifferent
Tumultuous sea

Toward something solid

All the while knowing
I have no say in the matter

The sea will claim what it will

This is a riptide

We are nothing.

But the sea spared her and me

And I see the line
Between here and now
And nothing.

I am on the right side
Of that line.
I am sure.

Post a Comment


  1. I had a similar experience with my daughter and the sea.

    This is gorgeous and terrifying.

  2. wow, powerful poem, I almost couldn't breath as you swallowed water...scary.

  3. Reminds me of that joke.
    The sea washes her child back on the beach after she begs God.

    "He had a hat!" LOL

    Come see a cathedral tomorrow, Sandy:


    Comfort Spiral

  4. Very powerful and moving words, Sandy. I love the ocean, but I learned early to have a very healthy respect for it's power that can swallow anyone or thing at any given time. I'm so thankful that you and your daughter were spared. Have a lovely weekend.


  5. Sandy: Beautifully told and shown.

  6. Oh my goodness, if this is true and the power of the words says it is, I am so happy that you are both on the right side of that line! Wonderfully written and your photo is superb.

  7. I remember you mentioning this when it happened. Scary. I bet it does replay in your mind when you are tired and struggling a little. Lovely poem.

  8. Enormous emotion read your poetry ...

  9. Great photo for your poem filled with emotions. I felt like I was there!

  10. I have never seen a picture quite like that one it matched perfectly with what you wrote here.

    Kindest regards,
    Tom Bailey

  11. very scary Sandy, wow. I held my breath almost as I brought it home, how easily something or someone can be lost...

    beautifully written.
    Bella :)

  12. Wow. That was an amazing telling.

  13. As much as I love the water, I am also terrified of it as well. Someone we know drowned in a riptide in Hawaii a few years ago; glad you and your daughter were safe. Your poem was an excellent reminder of the power we do not have over the chaos of the sea. Have a great week~

  14. Sandy, I always enjoy very much reading your great poetry. Thanks for sharing!

  15. How terrifying.

    Thank goodness you both stayed on the right side of that line...

  16. Love yr poetry. Even though I live by the sea, I have a real fear of water.

  17. Lovely. Makes me miss the Gulf where I grew up just terribly.

  18. Excellent Sandy... ha! I can't afford to be to short of breath at the moment but did enjoy your words... Thank you for your visits, my blogging is very one sided at the moment so to keep seeing your name poppng up is so nice.. thank you Sandy.

  19. Dear sandy, the anture is in revolution...
    have a nice sunday

  20. your poem evokes the awesomeness of the ocean, and our helplessness in its face.

  21. I remember this story very well. Too well. And even now I feel the same knot when I think of it that I did when you told me about it.

    So incredibly glad that both of you are still on this side of the line.

  22. Cascondaville10:44 AM

    You wrote this so well, the short choppy sentences, the emotion, that I drifted away with you, for a moment there, I had to catch my breath. Very very nice, though I imagine at the time, nothing was more important than getting back to 'the right side of the line.'

  23. Phew,the sea is so chaotic!

  24. A scary incident. Good that you grasped order from the chaos.

  25. What a terrifying experience that must've been...I had a dream similar to this about my daughter and I. Thank goodness it was only a dream. The ocean, like life, can overpower us with its brutal force when it wants to.

  26. A very dramatic experience!
    But so well told.

  27. This poem shows vividly how thin that line is. I'm truly grateful the sea made another choice that day. A harrowing, powerful read. Thank you.

  28. Hi Sandy, this the greatest!
    The engineer in me said to pay attention to your structure/form on this one as I often do.

    I kept on seeing senryū/haiku sets thrown in here and there with no apparant pattern. Was that deliberate?

    My favorite set was
    "I see my daughter
    Opening her mouth to breathe
    Only to claim water

    I kept wanting to read the last line as
    'only water to claim.'

    I am glad you (first person writer) ended up on the correct side of that line.
    The whole thing, although a little slower, is similar to experiencing a motorcycle wreck, starting at highway speed plus.
    It 'just happened' and things are gone. Like a dream.

    That's my take, thank you,

  29. Wow Thanks so much for sharing. Your blog is such an inspiration

  30. Its terrifying - and its wonderful that you found yourselves in the right side of that line.. That photo is aweinspiring, to say the least.. Its in perfect sync with your verse.

  31. wow! the imagery is powerful!

  32. i could really feel it..wonderful lines.. :)

  33. The line is fine - to be on the right side is truly wonderful! Well told with the best kind of outcome!

  34. .. powerful & telling ..

  35. The sea giveth, and the sea taketh away. It seems like you were lucky and spared that day. Be thankful for each passing day given by the sea. Such power and mystery combined. You describe the incident is such imagery, I found myself searching the picture, looking. It is sometimes hard to relive the nightmare. Well done Sandy.

  36. Hi Sandy;

    This sent shivers in my spine. I have had such a harrowing experience like you did not just once, not twice but three times in my youth and sometimes those experiences give me nightmares.

    I can relate to it so much Sandy.

  37. those last three lines overflowing with wisdom....

  38. Powerful and evocative! There is nothing that punctures one's self-identification as a creature of importance quite like the implacable hand of the sea. Cheers!

  39. “Now and again
    I see that grey wall of water
    Rising to engulf us.”

    A grey wall of water--magnificent, impassive, implacable. There is no arguing with it.
    What a vivid impression this leaves of how precious and fragile our lives are! I too am thankful that you and you daughter found yourselves on the right side of that line.

  40. Very nice. Powerful words and images. The ocean is a permanent and unforgiving entity. I fear it's power.


  41. What a very frightening experience and I can feel your awe which I am sure is renewed each time you remember.

  42. Your powerful poem resonates mightily ... bringing to mind a similar experience I had with my sister and a friend when I was about 12 or 13. It pays to have respect for the ocean.
    Hugs and blessings,


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