Rough SeaRough Sea With Wreckage,
J. M. W. Turner [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons

Let’s take Mark Twain’s challenge:
“throw off the bowlines,
sail away from safe harbor,
catch the trade winds” in our sails… 

The air is fresh.
Our lungs swell
with the wind that fills the sails of our boat.

The sky is bright.
Our vision is sharp.
We look ahead at the cleared way.
The wind is pushing us further
from the safety of the shore,

out to a calm sea.
Our feet are firm on the floor
of our steady boat.

We are so alone,
we can hear our own breathing.
The air clears out our memories for this fresh re-start.

Now that we are out at sea,
the salt water mist in the air lands on our lips.
Salty sweet,
it tastes of all the foods we enjoy,
in one symphony
of satisfying ecstasy.

Along comes the inevitable storm.
Who doesn’t like a roaring storm?
This is our daydream,
so we stand tall

in the mountainous waves,
among bolts of lightning,
and even get struck numerous times.
We revel in the electric energy,
enjoying each moment of being charged.
Rain
scrubs our bodies
with invigorating massage.
We enjoy the feel of each muscle fiber
balancing us on this rough sea.

Now all is calm again.
We can only see the horizon
though we look all around.

We’re here now,
one with all,
and all is nothing.

We take the paddles that we just found, and sweep away the water to where life is.
We feel hunger
and thirst
and yearning.
We immerse ourselves in the hustle and bustle of the flashing lights
and crossing paths
as we seek satiation.
The rhythm of life beats in our hearts.
What we see and hear fills our veins.
We mentally record what we now have:
wisdom that we carry from having been at sea,
and thus
we are now immigrants
in this place called Life.

But
to present one’s self as an immigrant to life
is to put on

a pretentious mask.
We are all immigrants
in this place called Life.
We rip off any mask and breastplate
that we find on each other,
and expose each others soft underbellies.
There, we reveal thoughts we have been harboring,
which we must now bare and share,
because keeping them covered robs us of
life,
and robs everyone of our gifts. 

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13 thoughts on “Mark Twain’s Challenge

  1. “Rain
    scrubs our bodies
    with invigorating massage.”

    Love that line! That instantly called to mind the times I’ve been standing in a downpour and how wonderful and alive I felt at those moments.

    Great poem!

    Like

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