The Poem of the Dock

 I said in my last post that I had things to say about how quarantine has had a positive effect on my spirit and soul.  Of course, I now  feel obligated to say what that is, and i can’t.  

Lao Tse said of the Dao that the minute you try to describe it you have lost it, and I think the same can be said for trying to explain oneself. So I’m going to do something else instead.  I’m just going to let the random contents of my brain out for a little  spin without trying to force them to add up to anything.

Someone once said it’s not what you look at but what you see that matters, and the dock here has been a good place to practice. Here’s how that went this morning as I sat in the warm sunshine with my coffee.

The water is so calm, it makes perfect reflections of the trees

The movement of these reflections  reminds me of impressionist paintings

I wonder how they would paint this…

I wish I could paint

Could I learn to paint?

Where is my heron?  It’s high tide. It probably doesn’t like that

I wonder if it flew over and thought, “ oh, crap,  my shallows are gone. Maybe I should go back and take a nap.”

A nap sounds nice. Maybe after lunch…

Oh look! Two kayaks!

I wonder what it’s like to be out there right now…

The water just inches from you, the sound of the oars in the water…

I wonder what it’s like to be that duck over there…

I wonder what it’s like to be that puff of wind on the water…

Wow!  There’s a dog on that paddle board with that man!

I wonder what it’s like to be that dog…

I need a photo of the dog!

Do I really need a photo?


There’s a man sitting on the dock on the other side of the inlet

Has he noticed me too?

I wonder what I look like to him….

Funny how we never actually see our own faces

If I cross my eyes I can see my nose.

Oh wow—a raccoon— no two! 

The smaller one is in front, turning to watch out for the other. 

What is the understanding they have?

Are those little squeaks coming from them?

Their world is perfectly in order.

It would be nice to see an otter

I can relate to otters…

Is that why I like them? Should that matter?

Quarantine is over tomorrow. I can’t believe I don’t really want to leave.

I should have put on sunscreen.

I should have put on more sunscreen my whole life

We used to call it suntan lotion, like a tan was the whole point

If I were young I’d be wearing a bathing suit and trying to get a good tan

Now I am out here because the sun feels good both where I’m  bare and where I’m not

Faint sounds of sirens, hammers and plane engines— people having days unlike mine…

I  have nothing at all to worry about.

Maybe I should go accomplish something…

Why? I’m good right here.

So that’s the report from inside my head. I am very far from Buddhist enlightenment with such a distractible mind, but it was nice to take a practice from meditation and just let my thoughts pass through without judgment, without thinking I have to do something about them. I have the affliction shared by most writers (and many others) to try to make everything mean something.  It’s nice to let that go for a while. 

The poet Archibald MacLeish said “a poem should not mean, but be,” I think that applies equally well to the poem I try to make of my life.   

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *