Swim

She clutched the rose between her teeth
mindful of the thorns
and struck out towards the distant beacon
the one that signaled shore

sometimes the water lifted her
sometimes it drew her down
but she was set upon her task
and did not have time to drown

rising and falling her vision bobbed
as she focused on the light
oblivious to the shadows
as she struggled through the night

the light at times would rush at her
and fill her heart with glee
that soon she'd stand on solid ground
and lean against a tree

but then the light would wander
as if it were meant to flee
and she worried she would always be
a prisoner of the sea

sometimes she'd dare to rest a bit
when her arms and legs would numb
but then the waves would whisper gently
that she should just succumb

the whispers spurred her on again
with focus clear and pure
and her attentions turned again
to get herself to shore

she let her anger swim for her
and drew upon its might
and tapped into her fear for strength
to get her to the light

after a time she drew a breath
and looked out to the shore
and saw the light was so much closer
than it had been before

she let go of the anger then
and cut away the fear
she wouldn't need them now you see
the shore was drawing near

she only saw the light right then
gazed till her neck was stiff
and didn't notice she was headed
straight for the rocky cliff

until she bumped into it
and scraped her body raw
trying trying oh so hard
to get up that jagged wall

she wished she'd kept her fear with her
but it was not around
only sorrow that after the struggle
it seemed that she would drown
the ocean seemed to mock her pain
like it knew all along
that hers would be a fruitless struggle
that her choices had been wrong

with salted eyes she cursed the light
and cursed herself for trying
to get somewhere that promised better
than a lonely sea of crying
lights are lies she told herself
at least the sea is real
is doesnt claim to care for me
is doesnt claim to feel
it never hung a golden carrot
for me to travel toward
and never promised there would be
any love or small reward
but the lighthouse didn't either
it all come from in my mind
a something that I needed
and didnt know where to find
then she looked upon the light once more
and began to wonder if
it had watched others die like this
at the bottom of its cliff
if it drew us near to watch our pain
knowing that we'd trust
and travel towards the brightest light
as those in panic must
it played its light like the piper pied
a needy one, she'd chased
and ended up alone again
defeated and disgraced

she loosed her fist from rocky hold
the rose slipped from her lips
and resigned herself she'd not escape
the ocean's secret grips
she closed her eyes so slowly then
the light began to scatter
until the darkness comforted
until it didnt matter
it pulled her in and drew her down
and filled her lungs with brine
She couldn't hate the light for trying
"the failure here was mine"

her mind began to cloud and swim
as she pondered her life's choices
of whom she'd loved and been loved by
and she listened to their voices
they told her things she had not heard
about herself and them
and without knowing how she did it
she began to swim
and found a rock near to the cliff
and clung with all her might
she'd come too far, too hard, too long
to give without a fight
she flung defiance far and wide
defiance straight and true
she mocked the ocean and the light
"I'm not afraid of you"

"you only want to conquor me
because you see I'm strong
it just took me time to see
what you've known all along"
"but those old days are over now
and though I may die here
I'll do with with my pride intact
and do it without fear"

"cause I can move but you cannot
and though I may be trapped,
I'm not as weak as I appear
just that my strength is sapped"
the ocean stopped its whispers
there was dimming of the light
half in water half on rock
I pondered on my plight
I gathered strength in silence
and calming, felt the cold
who was that voice that I'd just heard?
was that me who sounded bold?

then suddenly a hand was there
extended in the night
it took me by the wrist and pulled
it seemed with all its might
it pulled me up and sat me down
and its voice sought my condition
I told it that tale you just read here
in a shorter sort rendition

"how'd you know which way to swim?"
I heard the figure ask
I told it of the lighthouse
and how I'd focused on my task
"but there's no lighthouse here, you see"
and panned its hand around
I sat in disbelief there
almost glued upon the ground
"I saw the light - I saw it shine -
I saw it call", I said
"I'm sorry you're mistaken, dear,
"the light was in your head".