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Life On A Boat

Updated on February 27, 2017

How much of our journey is meant to be alone? We enter and exit this world alone. Our pain, joy, sorrow, and happiness can be shared, but no one ever truly understands exactly how we individually are feeling.

Often our life is as if we are sailing a boat alone. A small vessel that is rocked swayed and tormented by storms and waves alike. Yet also feels every ray of sunshine and ocean breeze.

On the ocean, in our small boat we come across others also on their own vessel. Some crossings are long; we share our experiences and journey at sea. We even plan journeys together, one following the other. But when the days end, the sun sets and night comes, we always go back to our own boat. As much as we spend time with others, they must also leave to attend to their vessel.

Because we are on a boat, with strong winds, and currents that send the ship where it will. We can not plan on others being with us on our journey. For every hello there is also a guaranteed goodbye.

© 2017 Elise Reed

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    • Namelessintheeast profile image

      Nameless in the east 

      17 months ago from USA

      Elise, this poem is very poignant and forthright with a speaker who is present throughout. I hesitate to provide feedback given your matter-of-fact style which is very effective.

      I notice the image present throughout the poem, a small boat. An empty or shell of a boat is your profile picture too. Loneliness and emptiness are cousins: A shell of a boat adrift at sea. Perhaps this poem has a special meaning? I would like to take a risk and do something different here. If I have trespassed on something special or deep, I hope you will forgive me.

      I will not try to improve upon something so touching, but I would like to instead elaborate the themes here using a different style. As you will see, some slight modification can have the effect of pulling the reader into the poem, pushing the narrator into the background (which is matter-of-fact and near the surface in your version) and creating a rhythm (or cycle) in the poem. The poem is about a boat at sea: Rhythm and movement could be a natural byproduct here.

      Elise, I would also point out one truth regarding human relationships which you do not touch in your poem: Relationships, especially romantic relationships, are a dance cycling back and forth between closeness, understanding and distance and solitude. The flux, change and contrast are what make relationships memorable and special. Also, a thought: We do indeed always return to our individual boat. We all dream and we always dream alone.

      Let me explain what I have done:

      1. The last word in a sentence is what the reader wants to remember most. To make a sentence stronger, end with the relevant concept term for greater intensity. You seem to use this technique yourself.

      2. For a heightened effect, use direct allusions with few adjectives.

      3. For a subdued effect, use less direct allusions with more subtle imagery, more adjectives and a calm narrative.

      4. A cyclic narrative starting subdued and calm, building to sharpness and back again: The sea, deep, empty and cold. A solitary boat on the sea. Sunlight and the realization that we are not alone: We are connect. A towline of boats together. Return to darkness and night.

      5. Within this overall cycle, I have added an additional cycle: Subdued imagery with narration in the background followed by immediate third or first person from your original poem. The poem now has an overall and secondary rhythm.

      “900 (check figure!) billion people share this earth, how is it that there are times when we feel completely alone?”

      “The blackened sky, the cold crystalline lights above. A solitary light, burst against a dark distant shore: Pulsing, pulsing. The water subsides, within the trough a small boat, empty and adrift. At its stern, a faint light diffuses into emptiness, as if saying, ‘I am here, still here.’

      How much of our journey is meant to be alone? We enter and exit this world alone. Our pain, joy, sorrow, and happiness can be shared, but no one ever truly understands exactly how we individually are feeling.

      Our life, is sailing a boat, alone. A small vessel rocked swayed and tormented by storms and waves alike.

      The world turns, the Sun rises. The sky a cool blue. The sea, turquoise and shimmering. A trail of small boats tossed and turned.

      In our boat, alone, we feel the rays of sunshine, the brisk ocean breeze.

      These boats, drift towards each other. Some cluster, some now in pairs, some remain alone.

      On the ocean, in our small boat we come across others also on their own vessel. Some crossings are long; we share our experiences and journey at sea. We even plan journeys together, one following the other.

      The world turns. The orb descends, a frosted twilight, the sky crystallizes. Faint lights tossed on the waves, some close, some far away, merged, now drift apart.

      When the days end, the sun sets and night comes, we always go back to our own boat. As much as we spend time with others, they must also leave to attend to their vessel. Because we are on a boat, with strong winds, and currents that send the ship where it will. We cannot plan on others being with us on our journey.

      On a small boat adrift at sea, for every hello there is also a goodbye.

      In the distance, our guide, our beacon, our memory, pulsing: ‘It is there, still there.’”

      I wish you peace and good fortune Elise, Noname

    • profile image

      Bella Allred 

      20 months ago

      Oh my it's beautiful, and sad, and true, wonderful.

    • profile image

      Erica 

      20 months ago

      Love this!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      20 months ago from Queensland Australia

      A poignant message in this poem, Elise. Well written.

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