28 Line Poem (aka, An Uncried Ocean of Men's Tears)
Faintly brackish, I still taste the salt.
The ebb’s pattern is not news; I submit.
Immersed now and floating
If I allow it, I am carried.
Buoyancy invites me into its surrender.
Shimmering rays of weightlessness beckon me.
All I ever need is to be in it, allow the surrounding.
Just beneath the surface, an ocean of uncried tears awaits.
A pin hole is all it takes to unleash the deluge.
I am rocked, cast about with the sadness of life.
murkiness. awash. bobbing. spun.
Ever returning, unfolded, opened again.
Droplet after droplet, I see them coming back together.
Crystallized, somehow fallen and rising all at once.
One facet after another reveals itself - if I will look.
In a blink, it returns to fog - obscuring the vastness.
Uncertainty sweeps back in. I am soundless and still.
Just like waves, swelling and crashing, I am same and ever changing.
Adrift. I am a drop among an infinite sea.
One drop. Connected to all the others - distant and together.
Splinters on the surface don’t tell of the solid underpinnings.
A breath away. I can have it whenever I choose to align.
Stillness is the present of being.
And lying low I rest, full of slumber.
Yet to rise again and again to find my way.
Ashore as a crest, I always return to the ebbing.
At times I am a ripple then a swell; all the same.
Me. Ocean. You. Wave. All. One.
I don't often write poems, though I must admit that I aspire to write poetically from time to time. I came across this amalgamation of a poem that I wrote last February while thumbing through a journal looking for something I'd jotted down last year.
The genesis of the poem consisted of three things:
I use the Clear Habit Journal's monthly "one line per day" journal as a way to allow a single idea open up for me over the course of an entire month of short writing entries.
Something inspired me to create a prompt for the month of February 2021 that said, simply, "Write a one line poem".
For a reason that I don't quite recall now I was thinking about the ocean at the start of the month of February last year.
So every day last February, I wrote a one line poem that had some connection to the ocean. (And usually something else.) This was the only time I've ever used this method. I'm not sure why - it was really fun to do.
Beyond this technique's apparent ability to create poems, mediocre or otherwise, the "one line per day" journal technique has been really useful for me in creating mindset shifts that help me develop into the man I want to be. Here are some examples of other prompts I've used over the years to change my mentality in one small drip each day:
In what way did I clarify my purpose today?
What's one idea I want to put out into the world?
In what ways did I take risks to grow?
How did I create more fun in my life today?
What was my most difficult feeling today? (yowza!)
In what ways did I expand my intimacy bubble today? (ooooooh!)
Change is hard. So is writing poems. Using a daily technique like the "one line per day" journal that breaks it down into manageable chunks can help.
Jim Young is an author, men's burnout coach, and occasional poet. He lives in Western Mass, where you probably wouldn't want to access the ocean in February even if you could.
When Jim isn't doing some small thing each day to learn about himself .... ok, that's basically never ... when Jim isn't thinking about how to improve his life or writing down how he did it, he's out enjoying his life. He does that by goofing around with his partner, watching movies with his kids, cooking anything you can challenge him to make, and jumping up on stage with his friends to do live improvised comedy shows.
If you'd like to talk to Jim about change, poetry, burnout or something else, drop him a line at email@example.com.