“Flower Clouds,” Odilon Redon, 1903, WikiArt.

“How far and wide is the ocean?” I asked
Papa, strong-backed net-man, fishing our
Livelihood. Patient pipe puffs, he replied,
“Westward reaching cold depths, Willow,
Beyond sight and touch.” Doubtful eyes
He read, “Come with me.” Ocean we sailed,
White-cresting waves, home headlands thin
Pencil-line, mist disappearing, 100 fathom
Of deep-sea water. How I felt isolated,
Alone. Reassuring smile, Papa unfazed as
He turned about, weather-worn hands
Steadied sails, boat, holding steady keel.

Once home, sea chart Papa showed me,
We sailed one inch away from outer island
Shores, ocean westward stretching into
Nothingness, depths, distances beyond
Reckoning. By hearth-fire flames, Papa
Said, “Sea is cunning, Willow, mystical,
Knows you better than yourself, who will
Live or die.” From clifftops, I gazed upon
Far-reaches of the sea, shimmering lights
Touching heart, mind. Its deep calling
I felt. No, I was not afraid of whispering
Winds, summoning surf, inviting waves.

Arms as soaring seabird wings, downhill
Running paths I took, colours bright, sun,
Sea-cloud spun, spirits high, wandering
Girl brine reborn, ebb and flow tides, Papa
Waiting at his boat. “Not yet, Willow, much
Yet to learn until sea-proven, ocean mettle-
Made.” Father’s reproof, chores returned,
Shepherding, pony, Beven, his baskets
Peat loaded, twisting ears, listening to my
Single sea account, sailing beyond home
Headlands, my question still unanswered,
“How far and wide mystical sea?”

Away on mystical seas, thanks for reading.

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