Lessons from the Sea


Tremble, you who see only
earth and sky as you
camp here at the border
of heaven and hell
and swallow the fury
whole with one glance.


I've come here to die
countless times and walked
away more a spirit
than a body
after trying on light
like silken robes.


The sea never rests
but dreams a new dream
every moment,
buried under fire
and safe from scrawny,
rabid souls that
stalk power.


It has earned itself
a thousand names
like Sorcerer and Genesis
and Fear,
and here I can chisel
wisdom out of raw wonder
and feast upon sounds
that turn the wind into
stallions and translate
into silence.


I can follow serpents
to their depths and
live their dreams
or grow wings like the
waves that fly and plunge--
a violent birth and death
in the same moment.


And I wish my well-aged
hate would die as quickly,


I wish I could either
live or be as drunk as
the blue that reduces
me to a child.


Living seems possible here
only because the same God
that enrages the waters
concocted those confused
little crabs that make
complex creatures smile.


So generous with water,
so lavish with light,
now crashing and burning
on blue like
delirious constellations.


If the same heart that
gave us light gives us love
then we control the tides
and the sea is just
a trinket in our palms.


Tremble, you who drink
indigo fire
and see no God.


Dare to believe,
and welcome home,
sun-drenched and dancing,
your prodigal dreams.


by Patricia Joan Jones

Author's Notes/Comments: 

This poem was chosen Poem of the Week at The Golden Quill Poetry forum, and received Galadrial's Goblet Award at Galadrial's Respite Poetry forum and The Excellence Award at The Golden Quill Poetry forum. It was nominated for a Net Poetry and Arts Competition Award. First published in Voices Magazine, then in Poetry Sharings Magazine.

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Starward's picture

I think I have figured out a

I think I have figured out a key to your poetry, and this poem certainly demonstrates it well.  Your work is like the best of Bach's fugues or Shostakovitch's symphonies:  certain expectations are met, which creates great satisfaction; and certain variations are presented for the first time (the reader's or listener's first time), which creates ongoing and continuing interest.  A poem has certain contours---which fits it in to the overall pattern of your total work.  And then, within those contours which have interlocked with the others, the variations are presented and they will become, in turn and in time's flow, additional contours.  I see this process in your poems very clearly; and I have only seen it so clearly when reading Vergil, or Wallace Stevens.


patriciajj's picture

I can't tell you what a

I can't tell you what a thrill it is to have someone not just read my work, but analyze and appreciate it so deeply. I'm humbled, honored and validated beyond words, even though my formula is mostly unconsciously applied. I'm just glad it works in someone's opinion and that it brought a bit of enjoyment into the world. Thank you immensely for your very generous and fascinating feedback. 

Cascade's picture

Having some Cabernet and

Having some Cabernet and reading some Patricia JJ Smile

I was 41 before I ever saw the ocean. I reverted back to my inner child that day. I could smell it, taste it, and even feel it changing my whole being into a born again spirit. I was so excited, like a kid at an amusement park, Patricia.  

So silly, and yet it was EVERYTHING to me that day and even Months there after. This poem made those waves rush over me again. Took me back to one of the most beautiful days of my life and to parts of myself I either neglect or forget about. I adore this magic, dear poetess. All your words are like little spiritual spa treatments.

patriciajj's picture

What a gorgeous comment! Spa

What a gorgeous comment! Spa treatments . . . Thank you for making me smile and lighting up my day. 

saiom's picture

Every piece of your writing

Turki Amer's picture

i must say i love this very much:

"If the same heart that
Gave us light gives us love
Then we control the tides
And the sea is just
A trinket in our palms"

i wish we all were to learn
some lessons from the sea
thanks for sharing