Posted in 28 Days of Unreason, Poetry

Day 13 – Shores

This is the second time I go through the 28 Days of Unreason, where I have pulled 28 lines from Jim Harrison’s collection of poetry called Songs of Unreason.  The practice stretches me as a writer, some days more than others.  This one was especially tough for me.  Thank you to those who have joined me during this month of writing.  If you find inspiration in this or any other line during this challenge, please drop me a comment; I would love to read what you write, my friends!  Here is the Harrison line for today and my poetic response entitled Shores:

“Only the water is safe” ~ Jim Harrison


Floundering on the land
without boundaries
without edges
is living
without comfort

Only the water is safe

Three directions of land
one of limitless lake

Fishing from the pier, we
fourteen years old
a swell unexpected
sweeps the tackle
into the cold water,
he jumps in, a stupid thing
to do, nearly drowns
the tackle lost;
how different would my life
be if he
had gone the way of the bobbers
and lures?

Photo: Sheila Miller

Only the water is safe

We fell asleep last night
with your hand cupping
the side of my face.


© Poetry by Jilly
All Rights Reserved





A wild soul writing poetry.

31 thoughts on “Day 13 – Shores

  1. One of your best. The struggle payed off. Slower, deeper water. “Only the water is safe” as a refrain worked beautifully. BTW, did you mean “fell”, not “feel” in the last stanza? I”m fine with “feel”, but checking that it wasn’t a typo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read these 5-6 times, and still miss things. Thanks for catching the typo. Thanks, also for your comments – I feel like the whole thing is possibly too obscure.
      BTW – your comment on Day 14 Proverb of Unreason was lost in cyberspace, but I did read it. I work a day or two ahead on these and it was accidently scheduled a day early. When I kicked it back to Sunday your words were lost. My SWS pretty much says it all right now. LOL


    1. Ah, but the irony is that, for me, the water is the only thing that is safe. That picture is from my hometown on the other side of Lake Michigan. Growing up beside the lake is defining and I feel the loss of it often. The story of the friend who nearly drown serves to heighten the value of life. I’m not sure how well all of that plays out in the poem – it was a really tough write for me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think you described well the potential loss of that friend. The risk was not worth the reward, but that tackle box might have meant more to him than it appeared. Those experiences are not easy to forget. We keep retelling them to ourselves.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the fact that the wave appeared safe, but swept away the things that the boy obviously cared deeply about. The fact that he was swept away in the moment, risking obviously unsafe waters…. Phew! The perceptions that arise with the reading and re-reading. The ending is the payoff — the secure harbor, the mooring of a love touch as the waters of sleep wash over. Beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! The ending connects with my feelings about living beside the lake. It was always a position of comfort (hard to explain) and the cupped hand is that same thing. I don’t write personal narrative often for a reason. It’s easier to get into someone else’s head than my own.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmmm. I think that last statement is universal. Perhaps that’s why I consider “I think therefore I am” as a falsehood. I have often considered myself a wealthy, handsome, successful leader of world thought. I would do better getting into my own head for a reality check.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. My husband and I only met about 13 years ago. The kiddo in the story was a friend from my early teen-age years. The constant in much of my life is the lake. I grew up on Lake Michigan and she is a harsh mistress if you do stupid stuff. Thanks for reading!


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